(CNN) – A raging wildfire that has ravaged thousands of acres has forced more than 16,000 Canadians to evacuate their homes and prompted a burn ban in Nova Scotia, where record temperatures are breaking.
The authorities say that the fires, which spread over a total area of more than ten thousand hectares and are considered “out of control” by the authorities, destroyed several buildings and caused thick plumes of smoke to rise over the area. As of Monday, more than 16,000 people have been forced to evacuate areas around Halifax, Nova Scotia’s largest city.
The number of people who have been forced from their homes is about 16,429, Erica Flake, head of emergency management for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said at a news conference Monday.
Officials also said about 400 people had been evacuated from Shelburne County in southwestern Nova Scotia.
At least 200 homes or structures have been damaged by the fire, the town of Halifax said in a Facebook post, citing preliminary visual checks by first responders.
“Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by these fires,” said Tim Houston, Premier of Nova Scotia. “We know they’re experiencing uncertainty and distress. We see it and we want to try to relieve a small portion of the financial pressure.”
Each family that must evacuate will receive $500 through the Canadian Red Cross, according to a press release issued Monday. The money is intended to help meet what Houston called “urgent needs such as food and personal care items.”
Nova Scotia authorities also announced a county-wide burning ban on Monday due to the “existing severity of the fires”.
“The ban will remain in effect until June 25 unless the province decides it can be lifted earlier,” the authorities said in a statement. “Anyone who contravenes the ban may be subject to prosecution under the Forest Act.”
Trudeau: ‘The wildfire situation in Nova Scotia is very serious’
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the wildfires “extremely dangerous” in a tweet on Monday.
“We stand ready to provide any federal support and assistance necessary,” Trudeau said. “Everyone in our thoughts has been touched, and we thank those who are working so hard to keep people safe.”
A wildfire burning in the Westwood Hills and Tantallon areas of Nova Scotia is “out of control,” a press release said Monday. The fire is currently spreading over an area of 1947 hectares.
More than 200 agency teams have been dispatched across the county to help fight the fires. Authorities say 35 fire engines, two helicopters and a water bomber are being used, and warn that winds of up to 65 km/h could cause the fire to spread.
Another fire burning in the Lake Barrington and Shelburne County areas in southwestern Nova Scotia continued to grow rapidly on Monday. According to the statement, the fire, which authorities said was “out of control”, burned nearly 10,000 hectares on Monday night. The officials indicated in the statement that “some buildings have been destroyed and others are threatened, but there are no confirmed details of the figures for the area yet.”
CNN reports that while Nova Scotia has been battling fires, the western province of Alberta has been battling blazes for weeks. According to a statement issued by the Emergency Management Department on Sunday, there are still about 3,501 evacuees and “more than 2,700 troops” continuing to fight the fire.
The fire risk in Alberta remains “very high or severe in the northern regions of the province, moderate to very high in the central and southern regions, and moderate to very high from the central region to the northern slopes of the mountains.” “Rocky,” according to the statement released on Sunday.