NEWS
08/08/2016 12:14 EDT | Updated 08/09/2017 01:12 EDT

Nova Scotia restricts forest access due to 'high' risk of wildfires: minister

HALIFAX — As crews battle three wildfires in western Nova Scotia, the natural resources department is restricting all travel and activity within its forests to reduce the "high" risk of fires spreading.

Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines announced Monday that restrictions on hiking, camping fishing, use of off-highway vehicles, and certain commercial activities will come into effect at noon on Tuesday.

Hines said the fires in Maitland Bridge and Greenfield have been contained, but the blaze at Seven Mile Lake is considered out of control and has grown to 140 hectares.

Hines said the province has called in air tankers from New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador to assist the firefighting effort at Seven Mile Lake, which is "burning through" the province's resources at approximately $200,000 per day.

The minister said the risk of other fires breaking out is "high," as some areas of Nova Scotia are facing the driest conditions the province has seen in 15 years, which was also the last time similar restrictions on forest access were imposed.

Hines said the province can manage the existing wildfires in Annapolis and Queens counties, but any more "would cause great concern for us." 

He said the restrictions will be reassessed in two weeks.