More than 100 farm animals moved to safety from South Okanagan wildfire threat
A farm was able to move all of their animals to safety this week from the threat of the Keremeos Creek wildfire burning southwest of Penticton.
With more than 100 animals, the move required many helping hands and resources.
“It took a lot of support from the community to make our move to safety possible,” said co-owner of the GottaGoat Farm Jeff Campbell.
The farm has been on evacuation alert since the Aug. 1, and although not ordered to leave, owners Cindy and Jeff decided that it was time to move their animals out of the area as the Keremeos Creek fire grew in size.
“We are on a long sparsely populated stretch of road and although our address is not on the evacuation order list yet, our neighbours are, and we are right on the edge of it," Jeff said.
The Keremeos Creek fire was discovered on July 29 and is burning 21 kilometres southwest of Penticton at an estimated 5,900 hectares. More than 1,000 properties are on evacuation alerts due to the fire and hundreds are on evacuation orders including Apex Mountain's village and the small community of Ollala.
With the help of the Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team society, friends, neighbours and volunteers, enough trailers, pens and temporary homes were secured.
“Even though we did have a plan in place ahead of time some of it fell through, so it is important to check your plan frequently,” Jeff said. “Every animal has a different housing need, they can’t all go to the same place.”
Friends of the farm are housing the chickens while another one is caring for a special needs goat who requires shots for diabetes.
With the animals secured in different places the couple will be busy everyday driving out to water and feed them.
“A few places are self-contained and won’t require us to assist,” Cindy said. “Thankfully the majority are in one place in different pens. We will keep doing this until we are evacuated. It is hard to tell how far the fire is from here but it looks close.
“We are grateful the animals are safe and we won’t need to coordinate the move again.”
GottaGoat Farm is well known in the community, offering daily visits to groups including seniors and children’s groups, as well as families and individuals.
“Visitors mostly spend time with our goats,” Cindy said. “They are friendly and people love them. We have miniature silky fainting goats that will faint when they get excited or scared. They are adorable and calm. We love to meet people and share these peaceful animals with the community.”
Due to the wildfire, the couple had to cancel farm visits, the goat yoga classes they offer, and their annual trip to the Penticton Peach Festival. They hope to get back to normal as soon as possible.
The couple cannot extend enough gratitude to everyone who has helped move their animals to safety, including Riding4Life and Penticton Feedway.
“We want to thank the firefighters and fire departments for their endless hard work fighting fire, checking on residents and helping to secure our properties,” Cindy said. “They are exhausted and covered with soot but they keep going and we really appreciate them.”
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