(The following blog was originally written by Sandra Pady on July 31, 2017. Sadly, on this day 6 years later, the fire situation in BC has not improved. Fires continue to devastate BC. Once again the neighbours are supportive and this year Anjou was evacuated to nearby Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge to keep him safe. The picture is from this year)
The forest fires in British Columbia are devastating the land and forests. These conflagrations get worse each year. Historically, they have been part of the natural ecological cycle; now, however – and due to global warming – their numbers, duration, and intensity have escalated dramatically.
This part of the Nicola Valley, south of Kamloops, is the land where Anjou, a DSC foster donkey lives. Most of the time this environment is perfect for Anjou and his donkey companions. They graze over 265 acres of shrubby grassland and then they return each evening to their barn where they receive much attention from their caregivers. The ground is rough, hilly, precipitous in places, and rocky. Usually, one can see for miles but the haze from the fires blocks most of the vistas. It is the smoke from fires burning 30 miles away.
Anjou’s caregivers have been on high alert for over a month, now. Every day the temperature soars above 30 degrees Celsius and, unlike in years past, there has been a lot of wind. Sparks in a windy landscape like this can turn into a fast-moving blaze within minutes.
It is a given, of course, that neighbours are tremendously supportive of each other in this vulnerable grassland world. Next door to the farm where Anjou lives, the rancher has large equipment, water trucks, and several workers on standby. If a fire were to start, his backhoe would be used to cut trenches around houses and barns. In the meantime, people work outside, removing dry brush from the vicinity of buildings. It is never-ending work, too often complicated by extreme air pollution that clogs the air, caused by the smoke from distant flames.
One can only hope that these fires will die out sooner rather than later. In the meantime, our hearts are with the people and animals in the Nicola Valley, Williams Lake, Kamloops
Written by Sandra Pady
July 31, 2017