In The Black: “Stubborn farmers” working behind fire lines to protect homes, animals

In The Black: “Stubborn farmers” working behind fire lines to protect homes, animals

“We’re going to keep fighting until we can’t no more”

A group of self-titled “stubborn farmers” have been working behind the fire lines at the 108 and 105 trying to help fire suppression efforts.

While the group lives in an area that is under an evacuation order due to the Gustafsen fire, they decided to stay to protect their homes, their lands and their animals.

“We’re stubborn farmers. We’re going to keep fighting until we can’t no more,” says Casey Lang, one of those saying behind.

Casey says the group has built and maintained fireguards between Lilypad Lake to the train tracks, using their own equipment, and have worked to put out spot fires along the way using a pick up with a 500 gallon water tank on it.

“What we have done has definitely slowed it down. Two days ago it was a rat race, today it was definitely calmer,” he says.

Lang says that between the dozen people who started on the fire on Friday and the five that are left, “we’ve saved over a dozen houses, we’ve saved a lot of animals, a lot of livestock.”

He also says they are bringing water to not only their own cattle and animals, but others that are left in the area.

While residents under an evacuation order are obligated to leave, those that remain must stay on their own property.

“We haven’t touched crown land yet,” he says, although the group has been using the roads to access their properties.

Despite some issues working with the people patrolling the roads, he says they’ve mostly been allowed to keep doing what they are doing, provided they stay on their own properties.

“We’re not doing this to piss anyone off. We’re not doing this for a backlash.”

On the Cariboo Regional District’s part, Chair Al Richmond says that once people leave the evacuation order areas, they will not be allowed back in.

“I don’t have any comment on what they do on their own private property, but if they come out, they come out. We can’t have people staying in an area that’s been determined to be a hazard for humans to be there, I can’t. I’ve got no way around it. You can’t enable them in area that is considered to be a threat.”

The district did grant a permit for members of the group to go into an area nearby to open gates for cattle during the day on July 11, but they were escorted into the area and out to safely move their cattle.

“What we won’t do is enable them to stay behind in an area that is a hazard — that it’s not safe for people to be there,” says Richmond.

When it comes to the danger, Lang says the group is very aware of their safety.

They’ve all moved into a house safely away from the fire with no fuel around it, and have generators running and showers at the end of the day.

“I can say we’re not going to put ourselves in harm’s way,” says Lang

While Lang self-describes himself as an adrenaline junky, he says it’s part of being a farmer.

“We are all farmers and we work under pressure, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Lang says they plan to keep on working.

“We’re not going to leave unless we have to and by that I mean we’re dragged out of here or we have nothing left to fight for anymore.”

While he describes some of the images from behind the fire lines as “carnage,” he says they’ve driven past it so many times it’s almost normal now.

“I’ve been here for 20 years and my dad’s been here for 30 and you know, it’s all gone. It’s all memories gone, and that’s why we’re here saving it. Not just for us but for people in the 108.”

BC Wildfire

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

In The Black: “Stubborn farmers” working behind fire lines to protect homes, animals

Just Posted

Chief Joe Alphonse
OP-ED: Williams Lake municipal, regional councils lack awareness on historical trauma

Systemic racism isn’t always obvious to those that are not experiencing it

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

The City of Williams Lake is asking for public feedback on whether it should explore the opportunity to host a Greater Metro Hockey League team in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake GMHL expansion questions, concerns, to be discussed later this month

If approved, the team would begin play in the fall of 2021

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

(File photo)
Kamloops Mountie bitten while arresting woman

The assault on March 1 is the latest in a string of incidents that have left local officers injured

Most Read