It was news Merve White and Peggy MacInnis had been waiting for all weekend; they could finally go home.
The Lawrencetown couple was among 50 remaining residents who returned to the homes they were forced to flee over the weekend due to a massive forest fire east of Halifax.
RCMP permitted all residents to go home at 2 p.m. yesterday.
“It feels great,” said White, 61, who only took the clothes on his back when he evacuated. “We’re just glad to go home now, have a shower, have a little rest.”
The raging forest fire started Friday, forcing the evacuation of about 5,000 people over the weekend.
About 19,000 hectares of land were burned. Two homes on the Candy Mountain Road were completely destroyed.
Deputy fire chief Roy Hollett, who’s also the emergency site manager, said firefighters were still seeing “open flames” yesterday, but it’s been contained to the Snow Lake area.
“There’s no anticipation of it getting any larger,” Hollett said.
Natural Resources staff used infrared cameras yesterday to identify hot spots.
Water bombers brought in from New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec dumped up to 300 gallons of water at a time.
“It probably won’t be completely extinguished until we get a good rainstorm and that’s what we’re hoping for (today),” Hollett said.
RCMP spokesman Cpl. Joe Taplin said police believe the fire started north of the Wonderland Trailer Park.
Fire officials and police are still investigating the fire and haven’t determined whether it is criminal.
Hollet said high winds gusting up to 90 km/h were the biggest factor in the fire’s rapid spread.