The unprecedented wildfires in Nova Scotia continue today, with the burning in Shelburne County now being called one of the biggest wildfires in the province’s history, as Global news reports. As a reported 17,602 hectares of a wooded area in the province’s southwestern pocket continues to blaze, about 5,000 people have been evacuated.
Amongst the places to shutter its doors has been the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, a Birchtown museum that tells the story of, as its website puts it, “the world’s largest free African population outside of Africa, in the late 18th century in Nova Scotia.” An announcement was made by the Nova Scotia Museum (the entity that oversees the Centre, as well as other provincially-owned museums, like the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic) on May 30 that the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre would be “closed until further notice” due to threat of forest fire—along with the nearby Barrington Museum Complex and three other area museums.
Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources’s latest available map of the fire and the evacuation zone surrounding it (released at 11:41am May 31) showed both museums were outside of the fire itself, with the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre also just on the border of the evacuating area.
On June 2, The Coast spoke via email with a communications rep from the Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage. "Our thoughts are with the communities and Nova Scotians impacted by the ongoing wildfires in the province, particularly those in the Halifax area and in Shelburne and Yarmouth counties," Susan Mader Zinck writes. "Due to the fires in Shelburne County, five Nova Scotia Museum sites are closed – Old Meeting House Museum, Barrington Woolen Mill, Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, Dory Shop Museum and Ross-Thomson House & Museum. To this point, there is no damage to any of these sites. Museum staff have been helping support the community relief efforts."
A local state of emergency has been declared for the Municipality of the District of Shelburne, which will remain in effect for seven days.