Fires in the Halifax Regional Municipality

text reads resources and support

Resources for residents returning to properties

The Canadian Red Cross is now also offering Housing Repair and Reconstruction Support to homeowners whose primary residence sustained major damage or was destroyed. Homeowners may be eligible to receive financial assistance to help with costs related to the repair or reconstruction of their primary residence. For more details, visit the Canadian Red Cross' website

The Province of Nova Scotia's Emergency Relief Grant is available to individuals. This grant will support Nova Scotians who lost income during the recent wildfires in HRM and Shelburne County.  

Employed and self-employed Nova Scotians who are not receiving Employment Insurance (EI) can access this short-term emergency grant, either $275 or $550 per week, depending on the extent of the impact faced. Volunteer firefighters who responded to the wildfires may also be eligible.   

Nova Scotia Wildfires Housing Support Program

The Province of Nova Scotia, through the Nova Scotia Provincial Housing Agency (NSPHA), has established this transitional housing program for Nova Scotians who lost or experienced significant damage to their homes in the Shelburne County and Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) wildfires in Spring of 2023.

The Nova Scotia Wildfires Housing Support Program offers modular housing to eligible Nova Scotia residents for up to two years.

Residents returning to properties after an evacuation order are encouraged to review provincial information on health and safety considerations, including the use of personal protective equipment.

For more information, visit: 

The Canadian Red Cross Guide to Wildfire Recovery is another valuable resource for residents returning home after an evacuation area.

The Nova Scotia Power Wildfires Response webpage provides information on outage restoration and electrical safety. A reference guide to important electrical safety steps: Nova Scotia Power Wildfires Response & Re-entry Factsheet.

The Province of Nova Scotia has valuable resources for mental health support available for children, youth and adults. 

Access information regarding well water safety above, or through a well water safety after a wildfire common questions document, for those residents who have returned to their property and rely on well water. 

Supporting businesses impacted by the wildfires

Halifax Partnership, in collaboration with the municipality, Discover Halifax, and Invest NS, has deployed a Disaster Response Team who have reached out to support over 300 businesses affected by the fires.

The Disaster Response Team understand businesses' needs are urgent but may be different. Some are seeking financial supports, some are looking for help reopening their business and attracting customers again. In some circumstances, businesses are focused on the mental health of staff members who have been affected, and many are working through their own personal impacts and focused on family first. 

If the Disaster Response Team can be of support to a business, please reach out to Jason Guidry, Director, Trade & International Partnerships at or visit Halifax Partnership's website for more information.

The Province of Nova Scotia is offering assistance to more small businesses impacted by recent wildfires.  

The Small Business Wildfire Relief Program is now available to businesses outside the mandatory evacuation zones that were closed for at least five days because of the fires. 

Applications and information on eligibility are at:  

Business owners with questions may email: 

My home was destroyed or partially destroyed by the fires, how does this impact my property taxes?

The municipality has a Residential Property Tax Exemption Program in place for properties that have been destroyed or partially destroyed by the fires, as determined by Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency (HRFE).

The municipality calculates property tax based on the property assessment value determined annually by Property Valuation Services Corporation (PVSC), the assessment authority for Nova Scotia.

For the Residential Property Tax Exemption Program, PVSC will conduct a review of properties HRFE has identified as being destroyed or partially destroyed by the fires to account for the damage sustained, and provide revised opinions of value to the municipality, which the municipality will use to recalculate your property tax, if eligible.

For more information, visit our property tax web page. 

Why hasn’t an egress route previously been built for the Westwood Hills subdivision?

Egress routes are part of the planning process. Some communities were built in the past with no secondary egress routes.

On Tuesday, June 6, Regional Council directed staff to develop a staff report on developing egress for the Westwood Hills subdivision.

Why does the municipality allow dry hydrants?

A dry hydrant is a permanent water pipe that allows the fire crews to get water from natural water sources, such as lakes and rivers. In some areas where there is no natural water source, the municipality uses underground water tanks.

Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency have added dry hydrant locations to their digital mapping layers – which allows crews to access them while responding to a call. The mapping layers also include hydrants maintained by Halifax Water, private hydrants, and underground water tanks. 

Why were some homeowners advised that their home was damaged or destroyed via email?

The municipality’s priority was to provide as many residents as possible with information about the status of their properties as soon as possible. To that end, residents in the area of significant impact, whose homes had been destroyed, were asked to register with 311 so that municipal staff could contact them. The intent was that once they registered, calls would be  made to advise them of the status of their properties. If there was no answer, follow up calls were to be made. Out of respect, staff did not leave voice messages advising residents that their home was destroyed. If efforts to call were unsuccessful, residents were contacted via email.

In the end, not all residents were contacted by phone due to the magnitude of the task and not enough staff to make the calls in a timely manner prior to the municipality’s decision to provide a site visit of the area of significant impact.  The decision to organize a site visit was made on very short notice as staff were receiving multiple requests from impacted residents who, understandably, wanted to be allowed to return to their neighbourhoods to check on their properties.

As soon as information was received from the Incident Commander that the fire situation was safe enough to conduct a site visit for residents to view their destroyed or damaged properties staff quickly began organizing the visit.  At this point, the decision was made to switch to contacting residents by email as the fastest means to reach as many people as possible to ensure they were aware of the site visit.  As such, some residents were not contacted directly by phone to advise them that their homes were destroyed.  Instead, they were advised of the site visit and that they could come to the Canada Games Centre to confirm the status of their property.   

Opportunities to view images of destroyed or damaged properties were set up at the Canada Games Centre and site visits to the area were arranged on Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3 for residents in the area of significant impact who had registered with 311 to view their properties. 

The municipality acknowledges that this was not the best way to inform residents that had gone through the traumatic experience of losing their homes.  This is a key lesson that was learned and it will inform the response to future recovery situations following a crisis event like the Tantallon wildfires.

What fire mitigations measures are in place to protect neighbourhoods?

Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency are in their second year of implementing a Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) fire strategy. This is a multi-year strategy and includes the following tactics, some of which are already underway

  • Increasing capabilities to fight fires in the wildland urban interface. Installing at least one new dry hydrant every year.
  • Inspecting and testing existing dry hydrants every year.
  • Developing and maintaining an inventory list of all dry hydrant locations.
  • Annually practicing tanker shuttles for securing a water supply in the all rural fire districts.
  • Validating, in 2022 by the Fire Underwriters (FUS), Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency’s tanker and shuttle certification.
  • Researching new technology for early notification in this fiscal year.
  • Conducting public education and critical inventory assessments in the WUI.
  • Training additional FireSmart assessors and conducting FireSmart Assessments upon request as resources allow.
  • Increased training, equipment, and tactics for structural firefighters to do wildfire activities.
  • Purchasing new equipment specifically to mitigate wildland fire risks.
Was foam used to fight the fires?

Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency (HRFE) only used water as part of its response to the fires.  During the firefighting efforts, it came to the municipality’s attention that a fire department from a different jurisdiction, that was supporting HRFE efforts, used Class “A” Foam Concentrate. The foam was diluted with equal parts water, to combat the wildfire in a small area during the first day. There are no environmental or safety issues from the use of the foam. This was communicated to the public as soon as the municipality was made aware.

What considerations determined that it was safe for residents to begin returning to evacuation areas?

Re-entry plans were determined on a day-by-day basis – and any potential reduction of the evacuation zones were based on a number of variables, including temperature, humidity, wind, and firefighting progress. Further, re-entry was only permitted after the municipality completed inspections of all critical infrastructure, including roads.

As soon as re-entry was deemed safe for a portion of the evacuation zone, the municipality took immediate steps to inform the public.

Why was the fire initially deemed “out of control”?

The term “out of control,” which is commonly used in firefighting, was used by the Province of Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources and Renewables and Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency to describe the state of the fire, with additional qualifications regarding the percentage contained until they were able to shift the status to “under control.”

Did the municipality capture images of all properties damaged by the fires?

Given the significant number of properties in the evacuation area, as part of the fire investigation process by Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency, focus was placed on capturing photos of properties that were damaged and destroyed. The majority of structures in the evacuation area were assessed and at least one photo was taken.

At the Canada Games Centre, when municipal staff met with residents whose properties had been destroyed by fire, these residents were given the opportunity to view images that were captured of their property.

What was the municipality’s direction for residents who needed to dispose of their fridges and freezers?

Residents who needed to dispose of their refrigerators and freezers were advised of the following:

  • Remove all contents. Refrigerators and freezers will not be collected if there are still items in them.
  • Contact 311 or fill out the CFC Removal Form to submit a request and schedule an appointment to remove the refrigerant gases (CFCs).
  • Once CFCs have been removed, place the item(s) curbside on the next regular garbage collection day. For safety reasons, do not place fridges or freezers curbside until CFCs are removed. The gases must be captured by a qualified technician.

CFC removal service timelines have been relaxed to accommodate the increase in demand. The CFC removal team, facilitated by the municipality, is prioritizing removal requests to work as quickly as possible.

Did the municipality offer water for those impacted?

The municipality worked with Halifax Water to ensure access to safe drinking water was made available. Halifax Water set up water stations, where residents can fill their own containers with drinking water. These stations are self-serve, and continue to be available at the following locations. 

  • 134 Micmac Drive – Micmac Drive Park
  • 290 White Hills Run – Madeline Symonds Middle School

Note: The water stations located on Pockwock Road have been removed.

The municipality also provided residents with access to water containers while they were returning to their properties.

What is the FireSmart Program, and when was it adopted by the municipality?

The FireSmart Program is a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) program and the Canadian version of the American FireWise program.

FireSmart helps protect residents, their homes, neighbourhoods, critical infrastructure and vital natural resources from wildfire. This is achieved through seven disciplines that help neighbourhoods address the threat of wildfire: vegetation management, emergency planning, education, legislation, development, interagency cooperation and cross-training. Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency (HRFE) started preparing for the program in 2021 and launched the FireSmart Program in 2022.

Through the voluntary FireSmart Property Assessment, residents can register to receive a wildfire risk assessment for their property using the FireSmart standard. Residents will be given a report of their homes and recommendations for reducing the risk of interface fire on their property structures. 

As part of the training for HRFE staff members as FireSmart Assessors, 20 homes have been assessed. HRFE has received 15 home assessment requests to date, all of which have also been completed. Training for additional FireSmart Assessors is tentatively being scheduled by HRFE for mid-July 2023.

What security was provided for properties once residents were allowed to re-enter the evacuation areas?

RCMP officers patrolled neighbourhoods while they were evacuated and staffed checkpoints with partners. On June 9, RCMP handed local traffic control at the remaining checkpoints over to the Halifax Regional Municipality.

As communities began the healing process, RCMP officers maintained a presence in the most affected areas; a command post was set up on Bonsai Drive, and the RCMP, with assistance from Halifax Regional Police and private security companies, continued proactive patrols.


For the latest information, see below. 

Solid Waste 

Curbside collection of garbage

Please call 311 if your green bin is damaged.

Household Special (HSW) and other wastes

The Household Special Waste (HSW) drop-off depot at 20 Horseshoe Lake Drive, Bayer’s Lake Business Park accepts chemical waste generated in your home. The depot is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please visit or the Halifax Recycles app for a complete list of hazardous waste items and alternate disposal options.

Disposal of fridges and freezers

Residents who need to dispose of their refrigerators and freezers must:

  • Remove all contents. Refrigerators and freezers will not be collected if there are still items in them.
  • Contact 311 or fill out the CFC Removal Form to submit a request to remove the refrigerant gases (CFCs).
  • Once CFCs have been removed, place the item(s) curbside on the next regular garbage collection day. For safety reasons, do not place fridges or freezers curbside until CFCs are removed. The gases must be captured by a qualified technician.

Residents should check with their insurance adjustor, and/or refer to this information from the Insurance Bureau of Canada to determine if their fridge is safe to use.

This service does not include removal of refrigerants in heat pumps, swimming pool heat pumps, or furnace units. 

As a high volume of requests for this service is expected, please be patient as we process requests.

Additional garbage

Residents wishing to self-haul garbage exceeding curbside limits may take their waste to the Otter Lake Waste Facility (600 Otter Lake Drive, Lakeside N.S.; 902.453.3490)

Hours of operation: 
Monday to Friday: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday (residential drop-off area only): 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The tipping fee is $12.10 (+HST) per 100 kg. For loads weighing less than 100 kg, a flat fee of $5 is charged. 

Construction and demolition debris 

Demolition, construction and renovation debris (i.e., wood, drywall, shingles, etc.) can be taken to Halifax C&D Recycling. The facility contact information is as follows:

Halifax C & D Recycling Ltd


16 Mills Drive, Goodwood

Monday to Friday: 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

Saturday: 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Ash, ash-impacted soil, ash-impacted debris, burnt trees, and charred wood are not accepted.

Fees apply. Please contact Halifax C&D Recycling Ltd directly for information on fees or visit:

Well-water safety

After a wildfire, well water may be contaminated with bacteria and chemicals that can make you sick. Contamination can come from the fire itself and from chemicals that seep into the water supply if items such as oil tanks are damaged. 

As per provincial guidelines, residents with wells cannot use their water for drinking, cooking or washing themselves.

The capacity of lab testing determines the quantity of kits that can be distributed at any time. The sample can only be collected after the resident has completed a multi-day process that includes disinfecting their well, as outlined by provincial guidelines.

For well-water testing pick up and drop off locations, visit

Residents are reminded to flush their water for five minutes, then shock (disinfect), and then wait five days before collecting a water sample.

The samples must be collected no more than one hour before they are dropped off.

When samples are being dropped off, all bottles included in the testing kit must be labeled with residents’ street address, as well as the date and time of collection.

For more information, visit the Province of Nova Scotia’s website.

Fire debris management for service providers

Construction and demolition debris facility information is provided below:

Halifax C&D Recycling Construction and Demolition Debris | 16 Mills Drive, Goodwood

7 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Monday to Friday

8 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Saturday

  • Please call 902.876.8644 in advance, as loads of debris must be pre-screened to ensure acceptance.
  • Ash, ash-impacted soil, ash-impacted debris, burnt trees and charred wood are not permitted. Construction and demolition debris are permitted. For more information, visit:
  • Please ensure all loads of debris are secured and covered (e.g. tarped)

Envirosoil Limited | 48 Quarrystone Drive, Rocky Lake Quarry, Bedford

7 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Monday to Friday

  • All loads must be accompanied by an Envirosoil Manifest. Please call 902.832.4189 to arrange for pick up of blank manifests. 
  • Inert material, such as asphalt, concrete, metal, household waste, construction and demolition debris, etc. are not permitted. Ash, ash-impacted soil, ash-impacted debris, burnt trees and charred wood are permitted. For more information, visit:
  • Please ensure all loads of debris are secured and covered (e.g. tarped)


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