As wildfires creep closer to South Cariboo communities, horse-owners are already on the move to get their animals to safety.
The 100 Mile and District Outriders Club has set up several stalls outside the 100 Mile Agriplex on Wrangler Way, allowing residents a place to put their horses ahead of a potential evacuation.
Lone Butte resident Amy Tinson was at the lake for a swim Wednesday Wednesday when she got word there was a fire in Lone Butte and she and her family might have to leave at a moment’s notice. The fire, which started southeast of the Butte near Irish Lake, is about six hectares in size and is classified as “being held,” according to the BC Wildfire Service. BCWS and local firefighters continue to monitor it.
“This week all I’ve been talking about is the fires and how it’s almost the anniversary,” said Tinson, whose family’s home in 108 Mile Ranch was evacuated during the 2017 wildfires. “And then came the smoke and the ash.”
After being told she might have to leave her home after a six-hectare blaze broke out near Irish Lake, enlisted help from Valaurie Wettstein, of Wettstone Guest Ranch, to transport her horses. Two of her horses – Savannah and Nicky – found a stall at the site Thursday and she planned to head home to get the third one, although she’s not sure what to do with her three cats, 40 chickens, budgies and ducklings.
Ron Szigety, vice-president of the Outriders Club, said they have room for horses but nowhere for small animals like goats or sheep. He said he’s not sure how many horses will show up, as it depends on the fire situation.
“I’ve never seen heat like this,” he said.
Wettstein, who said they have 20 horses at the ranch, said she’s happy to help. “It’s incredible, everybody sticks together,” she said, adding she’s keeping an eye on the situation before making a decision on whether to move the horses.”If we have to go I hope we can find enough trailers to get them all out.
“It’s nerve-wracking, it makes me sick to my stomach.”