Collisions involving wildlife among August long weekend emergency responses

Big Lake Fire Dept. attended a crash caused when a motorcycle hit a bear on the Likely Road

Emergency responders in the Cariboo Chilcotin were dispatched to several calls during the August long weekend, including three involving wildlife.

Big Lake Fire Chief Joel Bruneski said a call came in that a motorcycle had hit a bear on the Likely Road on Sunday, Aug. 4 shortly after 1 p.m.

“The driver was taken to Kamloops with fractured ribs and nose as well as a concussion,” he told the Tribune Wednesday. “Considering the severity of the accident he is doing remarkably well. I believe a lot of that is due to the care he received on scene. Some of the first vehicles that came upon the accident were a doctor, a nurse and a retired paramedic.”

Bruneski said the Big Lake Fire Department crew arrived shortly after and everyone worked as a team to stabilize him.

Once Emergency Health Services BC arrived the driver was transported to Cariboo Memorial Hospital where he was stabilized and then transferred to Kamloops.

“A conservation officer went out tracking the bear, but I have not heard the outcome of that,” Bruneski added.

While crews were still at the fire hall, they got another call at 3:50 p.m. for a structure fire.

“On arrival we found a summer cabin that had dark smoke pouring out of several broken windows,” Bruneski said. “The cabin was right on the lake and some boaters had come to shore and started doing what they could to assist.”

The Big Lake Fire Department arrived with three apparatuses and 12 members who were able to extinguish the fire from the exterior before it became fully engulfed.

“We had a little bit of a struggle where squirrels had packed tree needles between the roofing tin and the plywood,” Bruneski said. “Crews were on scene till 7:30 p.m. before returning to the hall.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Read more: Big Lake Community Association AGM celebrated volunteer spirit

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue Chief Rick White said they were also dispatched to the Likely Road crash, but asked to stand down en route.

“On Monday we were dispatched to the airport turnoff on Highway 97 where a vehicle had hit a cow moose,” White said. “The driver had no injuries, but was pretty shook up because of the moose being hit.”

Ron Leblanc with the Conservation Officer Service arrived on the scene and discovered there were signs the cow moose was still nursing a calf.

“It was communicated to me she did have a calf. I looked for it again Tuesday and couldn’t locate it,” Leblanc said, adding the cow moose was still alive when he arrived, but it had a broken neck and she was unable to get up so he dispatched her on the side of the road.

“Luckily enough I was able to save enough meat that we could give it away and someone was able to make use of that animal.”

Leblanc said the meat was given to the Xat’sull Band and the community is sharing it.

“The people walked away and were not injured at all, which is something because with that kind of highway speed and that kind of animal they could have had severe injuries, but luckily they were OK. There was damage to their vehicle and of course the moose didn’t make it.”

He encouraged drivers to be vigilant, especially when travelling at night, and follow the road signs that indicate where high collision areas are.

“Search and rescue was pretty helpful, because it was in a bad spot where traffic comes around the corner and I could see how you could hit that moose. When I got there they had put cones and safety lights out so it was a safe environment for me to do what I needed to do thanks to those guys.”

Leblanc also confirmed that early in mid-June there was a cow and calf moose hanging out at Scout Island for about a week or two.

White said CCSAR also responded to a crash at Hanceville on Tuesday morning at 5:30 a.m. involving a vehicle and a deer, but there were no injuries.

Read more: One woman dead, two men injured in collision near McLeese Lake Aug. 2

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