Police are closing in on the origin of the massive brush fire that resulted in the evacuation of around 5,000 people over the weekend.


RCMP Cpl. Joe Taplin told reporters outside Cole Harbour Place, one of the shelters for evacuees, that forensic teams are working on determining the source of the blaze.


“We believe the fire possibly originated on the north side of Highway 7, which would be in the O’Connell (school) area,” he said.


Taplin wouldn’t release any additional details since they are still actively investigating.


The news that most of the 5,000 people who were evacuated from the area would be allowed back into their homes was an enormous relief for evacuees who were waiting for word last night.

By mid-afternoon it looked like RCMP were only going to allow residents of the Wonderland trailer park back into their homes, but several hours later officials were satisfied the conditions were good enough to lift most of the restrictions.

In an interview yesterday afternoon, Taplin said four people tried to sneak into the evacuated area over the weekend and were arrested by the RCMP.

“Just to put people at ease, police are making patrols and if you are inside that area, you will be arrested and removed. That’s to protect your property and the firemen working there.”

Taplin also put looting rumours to rest and said the area is well patrolled by officers and also heavily travelled by firefighters.

Premier Rodney MacDonald visited the evacuees in Cole Harbour yesterday afternoon and said all the resources required will be available, no matter the cost.

“If it’s in the hundreds of thousands or goes beyond that, we’ll make sure those dollars are there for those people and make sure the fire is contained.”

Air assistance from New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec were dumping water on the fire all weekend.