In Words and Photos - The Seven-Mile Lake Fire

Originally posted October 2016

The Seven-Mile Lake forest fire nearly completely stalled our forest operations for the summer. It’s only now that we’ve had the time to fully assess the damage and address our next steps for salvage, reclamation, and restoration.

Aerial view of the Seven-Mile Lake fire once crews had the blaze 35% contained (NS Government photo)

Aerial view of the Seven-Mile Lake fire once crews had the blaze 35% contained (NS Government photo)

On Thursday, August 4th a fire was started on a forest service road off Highway 8 in the MCFC land base. Due to extreme conditions, the fire spread quickly on Friday, jumping from the west side to the east side of Highway 8. Through the weekend, the fire continued to burn out of control and reinforcements were brought in from local volunteer fire departments to help battle the blaze. At this time the area of the fire continued to grow steadily as crews worked with water bombers from New Brunswick and local helicopter crews. By Monday the fire was nearly 150 hectares in size, and hot, windy weather pushed growth nearly 45% on Tuesday, August 8. The high winds and hot weather continued on Wednesday and the fire grew steadily to nearly 400 hectares in size, burning a multi-generation Christmas tree lot adjacent to Highway 8 owned by MCFC neighbour, Danny Rowter. At this time the Minister announced the closure of all unnecessary travel in the woods of Mainland Nova Scotia. As the week came to a close, fire crews finally gained further control of the fire and by August 15 it was finally 100% contained. It’s expected that roughly 280 hectares of the MCFC land base were damaged to varying degrees from the fire.

Post-fire, NSDNR, and MCFC have completed soil-sampling to assess early damage to the soil. In the coming weeks, we will be clearing the fallen trees that were cut along the fire perimeter during firefighting efforts. As the fall progresses we continue to monitor the progress of regeneration to determine the next course of action. There is limited research regarding the impacts of salvage harvesting post-fire in the Acadian Forest, therefore we’re taking our time to figure out the most sustainable, innovative ways to restore the area.

Water bombers were brought in from Quebec and Newfoundland to assist in firefighting efforts (NS Government photo)

Water bombers were brought in from Quebec and Newfoundland to assist in firefighting efforts (NS Government photo)

Aerial view of Highway 8 facing the Annapolis Valley (NS Government photo)

Aerial view of Highway 8 facing the Annapolis Valley (NS Government photo)

NSDNR firefighter assesses the damage on the ground (NS Government photo)

NSDNR firefighter assesses the damage on the ground (NS Government photo)

Overlay of the fire perimeter and harvest blocks scheduled for partial removals/silviculture in the upcoming year.

Overlay of the fire perimeter and harvest blocks scheduled for partial removals/silviculture in the upcoming year.

Mary Jane Rodger