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Charges in connection with the Barrington Lake wildfire

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The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources released this aerial photo on the afternoon of May 28, 2023, of the wildfire raging near Barrington Lake in Shelburne County in the southwest of the province. /p>Radio-Canada

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The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources has laid three charges against a 22-year-old man in connection with the wildfire that started near Barrington Lake on May 26, 2023 and burned 23,379 hectares of land.

Dalton Clark Stewart is accused of starting a fire on private land without permission of the owner, failing to make reasonable efforts to prevent the spread of a fire and leaving a fire unattended.

These charges were laid on Wednesday, January 17 under the Forestry Act and the accused is scheduled to appear in Shelburne Provincial Court on March 7.

Those found guilty of violations of the Forestry Act can be fined up to $50,000 and imprisoned for up to 6 months.

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The Barrington Lake Fire destroyed nearly 150 buildings, including 60 homes in the municipalities of Shelburne and Barrington. The blaze spread exponentially for around ten days before being brought under control on June 4 and finally extinguished more than a month later on July 26.

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The fire near Barrington, in Shelburne County, is the largest ever recorded in Nova Scotia.

The fire had given retaliates against the firefighters who had to request reinforcements from elsewhere in the province, in the country and in the world.

It’s terrible what happened here, says fisherman and volunteer firefighter Kevin Doane. People have lost all kinds of memories, houses have been destroyed, farms, fishing equipment, and the forest is decimated so the community will never be the same and someone must be held responsible for all of that. .

Approximately 3,200 residences had to be evacuated, leading to the displacement of nearly 6,700 people.

The ministry continues to pursue all leads related to the other large wildfire that broke out two days later in the capital region. The Tantallon wildfire outside Halifax burned approximately 950 hectares and led to the evacuation of more than 16,000 people and destroyed 200 structures, including 151 homes.

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This property on Jenna Road was destroyed by the Upper Tantallon wildfire in May.

The department has gathered a considerable amount of information regarding this fire, but the bar is high for what can be used as evidence in court. /p>

Under the Forestry Act, the Ministry of Natural Resources has two years from the date of an offense presumed to lay charges.

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Firefighter Zach Rafuse, of the Halifax Fire Department, in the Tantallon area, May 30, 2023.

Charges will only be laid if the Ministry, in consultation with the Public Prosecution Service, believes that there are sufficient evidence to support a conviction.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia have already concluded that they do not have enough evidence to conclude that this forest fire was of criminal origin.

With information from Adrien Blanc and Rebecca Martel

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