Nova Scotia pleads for federal assistance as wildfires rage on

"[We are] a province in crisis," says premier

Nova Scotia pleads for federal assistance as wildfires rage on

Catastrophe & Flood

By Mika Pangilinan

In the midst of escalating wildfires that continue to ravage the province, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston has issued an urgent plea for assistance from the federal government.

Speaking with the press on Wednesday, Houston revealed that he has reached out to Ottawa, as well as other provinces, in search of all available aid to combat the devastating fires.

“The list of asks is significant, we know that,” he said. “But we’ve made the ask. It’s time to pitch in with whatever you have... Nova Scotia needs the help right now.”

According to CTV News, Nova Scotia’s request for assistance was outlined in a letter addressed to the prime minister.

In it, Houston outlined the impact that the wildfires have had on the province.  

Close to 20,000 individuals have been forced to evacuate their homes, the letter noted, while tens of thousands of hectares of land remain engulfed in flames.

“Nova Scotia is a province in crisis,” the premier added as he pointed to forecasts of continued dry weather conditions.

Nova Scotia’s efforts to combat the wildfires have already received support from neighbouring provinces, according to Houston, with Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick having provided supplies and assistance.

Houston further disclosed that the province has requested the deployment of the Coast Guard to Shelburne County. Additionally, a team of 17 firefighters from New York and New Hampshire will be arriving on Saturday. The 20-member firefighting crew from the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables (DNRR) that had been assisting with wildfires in the Northwest Territories will also begin operations in Nova Scotia on Thursday.

He went on to express gratitude for the efforts already underway but stressed that the road to recovery would be long and challenging.

“As you can appreciate, we need help urgently and would most certainly appreciate coordination across federal departments,” the premier’s letter stated. “Given the scope and breadth of Nova Scotians’ needs, I wanted to put all requests in writing and in one place so that they could be addressed directly by you.”

Reports from earlier this week have estimated that around 200 homes or structures have been damaged in the suburban communities near Halifax, where evacuations began on Sunday.  

“The entire community is going to need some support through this to try and recover,” Cathie O'Toole, Halifax's chief administrative officer, had said during a Tuesday media briefing.

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