Emergency Wildfire Information and Resources

The forest fires in our community have impacted many, including ISANS staff and clients. We will share critical updates, official government sites, instructions on how to fill out evacuation registration forms, and mental health resources.

As we monitor the situation closely, our hearts go out to all those impacted directly by the fire and who have been evacuated from their homes. Our teams are in contact with our refugee clients who may be living in or close to the affected areas.

Important Updates

  • There is a local state of emergency and evacuation order in HRM. Check the HRM Fire and Emergency Management to see the map and affected area.
  • Register with 311 if you've been required to evacuate. We have added Google Translate at the top of the page so you can select your language of preference. However, you must use English to fill out the form.
  • Effective May 29, 2023, there's a province-wide ban on open fires. The ban applies to fires in provincial parks and private campgrounds. It also applies to backyard campfires and brush burning. The ban also applies to fireworks and will remain in effect until further notice. Visit this page for updates: Check Before You Burn page.
  • People can still access beaches and provincial and municipal parks, but trail systems are off-limits. Camping is allowed only in campgrounds. The restrictions also apply to Crown and private land. Private landowners are free to use their own properties but cannot host others to use wooded areas of their properties. Visit this page for updates: Link to the official news release by Province of Nova Scotia.
  • If you need a place to stay, visit this Google Map of Comfort Centres to find one near you.
  • If you live in Halifax or Shelburne county and you have evacuated, you can apply for $500 emergency funding. Register with the Canadian Red Cross online or by calling 1-800-863-6582.
a hand holding a mobile device that has a pop up white message with an exclamation point against a red circular background. The hand sits on yellow circle against dark green background

Step by Step Instructions if You Need to Evacuate Your Home

  1. Call 311 or go to the 311 website: 311 | Municipal Services and Information | Halifax to find out what is happening. Interpreters are available in 150 languages by phone.
  2. If emergency personnel (police, firefighters, medics, government officials, etc.) tells you to leave your home, go right away. Take important things like ID (passport, PR card, driver's license, vehicle permit, and health card), medicine, clothes, and pets.
  3. Tell 311 you had to leave your home due to the wildfire. They will register you on their list of people to contact with further information. They can also help you find a safe place to go. Someone will tell you where to go with beds, food, water, and help if you need it.
  4. Call or use social media to tell your family and friends where you are and if you are okay.
  5. If you are in danger, call 911 for help.
  6. Let your teacher know if you have to evacuate your home and you cannot come to class. You will not be penalized for missing class.
  7. If you get an alert on your phone, check with family or a friend to make sure you understand the message. Everyone in Halifax receives this alert.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a wildfire evacuation?

A: A wildfire evacuation process is a series of steps taken to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals in an area threatened by an approaching wildfire. It involves the organized and orderly movement of people from the affected area to a safer location.

Q: When should I consider evacuating during a wildfire?

A: It is important to follow the instructions and guidance provided by local authorities, such as the national emergency notification system, police or fire officials. If they issue an evacuation order, it is crucial to leave immediately. Early evacuation is often the safest option, as waiting too long can lead to being caught in traffic or hazardous conditions.

Q: How will I be notified about a wildfire evacuation?

A: you will be notified through the emergency notification system on your phone (Text Emergency Alerts), as well as by police and ground search and rescue personnel, who are going door-to-door where possible through the affected area. It is essential to stay informed and have multiple ways of receiving emergency notifications.

Q: What should I do if an evacuation order is issued?

  1. Stay calm and act quickly.
  2. Gather essential items such as identification, important documents, medications, and emergency supplies (food, water, clothing).
  3. Close all windows and doors.
  4. Turn off gas, propane, and other utilities if instructed to do so.
  5. Leave the area following the designated evacuation routes.
  6. Follow any instructions provided by emergency personnel.
  7. Go to one of the comfort centers at your area, or safe family or friend place if you prefer.

Q: when can I return to my home?

A: Residents are not allowed to return to their homes until they are advised that it is safe to do so by municipal authorities. Residents must remain clear of the evacuation area and refrain from filming and taking photos of the fire area, including flying personal drones.

Q: What if I have pets during a wildfire evacuation?

A: If an evacuation order is issued, take your pets with you and bring supplies like leashes, food, carriers, and bedding.