Firefighters Control Forest Fire Near Small Nova Scotia Community

HALIFAX (CP) -- Firefighters from six departments brought a forest fire that came within metres of homes in Nova Scotia under control in a matter of hours Monday.

Andrew Hood, the fire boss at the scene, said the blaze at Carolls Corner, a community about 30 kilometres west of Halifax, began at about noon and was under control by 5 p.m.

High winds blew the fire toward Carrolls Corner, leading RCMP to encourage residents of three or four homes to evacuate.

They were given the OK to return by late afternoon.

Hood, a forest resources technician with the provincial Natural Resources Department, said equipment at a logging operation likely sparked the blaze but the cause was still under investigation.

He said the fire consumed three to four hectares of woods. The burned area is east of Highway 102 between Lantz and Milford.

Trees felled by last fall's hurricane Juan made the situation dangerous for firefighters. Hood said that as with many other woodlands in the area, 60 to 70 per cent of trees were on the ground.

``(It's) harder to fight. You've really got to watch your step while you're in there,'' he said. ``You pretty well have to fight mainly from the air. If you get your men in there, you want to make sure you can get them out.''

At the height of the blaze, 100 firefighters were involved.

Hood said the helicopters were fortunate to be able to use water from a pond and a gypsum mine only minutes away.