Wildland firefighters from Nova Scotia head to battle Newfoundland forest fire

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Changing weather conditions show the damage caused by a forest fire near the Bay d'Espoir Highway in central Newfoundland.  (Darrell Roberts/CBC - image credit)
Changing weather conditions show the damage caused by a forest fire near the Bay d'Espoir Highway in central Newfoundland. (Darrell Roberts/CBC - image credit)

A team of Nova Scotians is preparing to fight the stubborn wildfires in Newfoundland.

The province is sending 20 of its wildland firefighters and one agency representative to join crews in Gander, N.L.

They will leave at Shubenacadie, N.S., at noon Monday to fight two forest fires in Newfoundland near the Bay d'Espoir highway and Paradise Lake that span over 5,200 hectares and over 6,600 hectares respectively.

Tory Rushton, minister of Natural Resources and Renewables, said the firefighters will travel to Newfoundland by ferry on Tuesday. He said the firefighters will be deployed to areas they are needed to provide ground support once they land.

"We're very proud of our firefighters and very proud of the ability that we're able to to send some of our crews over to assist Newfoundland," said Rushton.

A nearly week-long state of emergency in parts of central Newfoundland was lifted a few days ago. Grand Falls-Windsor, Bishop's Falls, Botwood, and the Coast of Bays region were all under an evacuation alert. Special air quality statements were also lifted

The Bay d'Espoir highway fire is considered 20 per cent contained.

Premier Andrew Furey said Newfoundland is entering the next stage of fighting the fire.

Nova Scotia officials said current fire conditions here allow for resources to be shared with their neighbours, and that the department will maintain proper firefighting resources within the province.

"We looked at what are our capabilities here and where it was in our province, and certainly assess the the risk and benefits. But we're very happy that we were in a safe environment that we could provide to firefighters at this time and still be covering our province during our fire season," Rushton said Monday morning.

Nova Scotia is a member of the Canadian Mutual Aid Resource Sharing Agreement which makes sure all provinces and territories get help if forest fires are too large to handle themselves.

The costs of the jurisdictions sending help are covered by the affected province.

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