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Nova Scotia, facing its own fires, recalls 20 people sent to help NWT

An image published by the Town of Hay River on Thursday shows a water bomber over a nearby wildfire
An image published by the Town of Hay River on Thursday shows a water bomber over a nearby wildfire.


Nova Scotia is bringing back a crew of 20 firefighters sent to the Northwest Territories last week to help tackle the Hay River-KFN fire.

The province is now facing intense difficulties of its own. Thousands of people are under an evacuation order as a wildfire burns out of control northwest of Halifax.

The 20 firefighters only left Halifax for the NWT on Thursday last week. At the time, the province said its own wildfire situation had receded to a “manageable level, so we’re now able to answer the call to help our colleagues in the Northwest Territories.”



In the NWT, those crew members were swiftly deployed.

By Friday, the territory’s wildfire agency reported that it had “switched in 20 Nova Scotia firefighters to relieve crews” fighting a wildfire outside the Kátł’odeeche First Nation. The arrival of those reinforcements would allow the territory to get its own crew members “ready to respond to wildfires across the territory,” the NWT government added.

The territory has since sent extra resources to a wildfire burning south of Sambaa K’e. While that wildfire has not yet triggered any warning for the community – it remains some 40 km away – it had grown to around 100,000 hectares burned as of Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Nova Scotia communities of Hammonds Plains, Upper Tantallon and Pockwock, some 25 km from Halifax, are the subject of evacuation orders



More than 200 firefighters are working to contain that fire, the province said, and the 20 firefighters dispatched to the NWT have been recalled.

“We’re trying to get them back in the next couple of days and they’ll be home to help us out,” said Scott Tingley, Nova Scotia’s manager of forest protection, at a Monday news conference.

Fire crews are routinely traded between provinces and territories – and even between countries – to address areas where the need is most urgent.

Canada’s national wildfire response has been at preparedness level five, designated extreme and as high as the scale goes, since early May.

The country did not reach level five at all in 2019, 2020 or 2022, and only did so in July and August in 2021.

More than 200 active wildfires are burning across Canada as of Monday, according to national forest fire agency CIFFC. Sixty-nine new fires were reported in the past day alone.