Strong winds fan forest fires in Nova Scotia

Sat Jun 14, 2008 2:12pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Strong winds fanned two forest fires near Halifax, Nova Scotia on Saturday forcing more than 3,000 people from their homes.

A total of seven fires began on Friday on both sides of Halifax, but firefighters managed to reduce the number of fires to two.

The larger of the blazes is in Cole Harbour, east of Halifax, while the other is near Tantallon, west of the city.

Thick smoke could be seen from miles away making it difficult to determine the extent of the damage to the homes and cottages along the coast line.

"The winds are picking up and that's what's helping the fire. It would be great if it would turn back on its burned area, that way it's got nothing to burn," Roy Hollett, deputy chief of the Halifax Regional Fire Department, told CTV News.

More than 100 firefighters have been battling the flames with the help of two waterbomber planes and several helicopters since Friday afternoon.

The cause of the fires is under investigation.

(Reporting by Scott Anderson)

<p>A plane drops water over homes in Lake Echo, Nova Scotia, June 14, 2008. Residents have been evacuated after the forest fire, which began Friday, is continuing to burn out of control. REUTERS/Paul Darrow</p>