NEWS

Halifax Brush Fire Prompts Evacuation

05/21/2012 04:16 EDT | Updated 07/21/2012 05:12 EDT
HALIFAX - About 100 homes were evacuated Monday in Halifax after a brush fire erupted in a wooded area, leaving a dark cloud of smoke that could be seen kilometres away.

Dave Meldrum, a spokesman for Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, said the fire broke out around 4:15 p.m. between Purcells Cove and Herring Cove Road in the neighbourhood of Spryfield.

About five hours later, crews contained the blaze.

The province's Natural Resources Department dispatched two helicopters to make water drops as crews battled to extinguish the fire into the evening.

"All those things put together have created a much more favourable circumstance than what we had earlier," Meldrum said.

Meldrum said the cause of the fire is not yet known, but he added that the windy and unusually warm weather may have played a role in exacerbating the fire.

"What we know for sure, the weather conditions today contributed to the rate of fire spread," Meldrum said. "But we don't know what may have caused the fire."

About 100 homes were evacuated on Purcells Cove Road from Halls Road to Oceanview Drive and the Canadian Red Cross set up a centre for evacuees at the Chocolate Lake Recreation Centre. Halifax police also restricted traffic access to the area.

Residents were later allowed to return to their homes but they were told to be prepared to leave again within 30 minutes if a flare-up were to reoccur.

Some people took to Twitter to share images of smoke clouds that could be seen from the Dartmouth side of the harbour a few kilometres away.

The fire comes three years after one that broke out in a nearby area of the city that forced the evacuation of 1,100 people and razed eight homes.