N.S. woman fined nearly $29,000 for outdoor fire as massive Shelburne wildfire burns

N.S. woman fined nearly $29,000 for outdoor fire as massive Shelburne wildfire burns
A sign on highway 102 near Halifax reminds drivers of the province wide burn ban on Saturday, June 3, 2023.

A woman in central Nova Scotia was fined nearly $29,000 for having an unsupervised outdoor fire in the midst of a provincewide fire ban, police said Saturday.

Officers responded on Friday afternoon to reports of an open fire on private property in the community of Lantz, about 50 kilometres north of Halifax, RCMP spokesman Cpl. Chris Marshall said in an interview.

They found a fire burning in a firepit about six metres from the woods, and nobody was watching over it, he said.

“(An officer) ended up extinguishing the fire with a hose they found on the property,” Marshall said.

A woman came out of the house on the property, and the Mounties gave her a summary offence ticket for igniting a blaze within 1,000 feet of the woods during a fire ban, he said. The ticket carried a fine of $28,872.50.

The province introduced a fire ban on May 29 as massive wildfires in the province forced thousands of people from their homes. A few days later, Premier Tim Houston hiked the fines for breaking the ban to a whopping $25,000 from $237.50. Marshall said at the time that with court and administrative fees, the fine worked out to be $28,872.

Fire officials in Shelburne County are still trying to douse what is said to be the biggest fire in the province’s history. The fire near Barrington Lake remains out of control but is no longer spreading, officials said Saturday. Flames have devoured more than 234 square kilometres of land since the blaze broke out on May 27, and about 130 firefighters were on site to keep knocking it down.

Overhead, helicopters began using infrared scanners on Saturday to detect hotspots, said a news release from the provincial government. It’s hoped the scanners will help ground crews extinguish the fires for good, the release said.

More than 22,000 people were forced to flee their homes because of the fires near Barrington Lake and in the Upper Tantallon area of suburban Halifax. The fires destroyed about 211 homes and cottages. Most evacuation orders were lifted Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2023.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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