The Province responded today to complaints about a massive loss of livestock and property as a result of a controlled burn that took place to fight the Elephant Hill Wildfire, currently estimated at more than 110,000 hectares.
Ranchers affected by the B.C. Wildfires are demanding both compensation and an apology for a controlled burn that went wrong on Hart Ridge Mountain south of Clinton and resulted in the loss of livestock and property.
The estimated number of livestock affected by the Wildfires is approximately 30,000.
In a press release issued by the ranchers, the group criticizes the actions taken by BC Wildfire in how they fought the fire under the conditions. BC Wildfire was heavily criticized for fighting fire with fire after the controlled burn went wrong.
After the fire rapidly expanded, causing numerous evacuations, Greg Nyman, one on the ranchers demanding responsibility be taken, was forced off his property, leaving his livestock behind.
“It just went unbelievably wrong,” said Nyman in the release. “The wind was blowing hard out of the northeast, and they were trying to burn to the northeast. I don’t know what kind of magic they thought was going to happen.”
Manager of Regional Development for the Ministry of Agriculture, Brent Barkley, said today that they are aware of a number of complaints regarding loss of property and livestock, saying that, “We continue to reach out to the ranching sector through the range staff and the BC Cattlemen's Association to offer our support and assistance.”
Barkley says that the B.C. government is working with the federal government to develop a recovery program to support B.C. ranchers affected by the fires.
He estimates that roughly 500 ranchers have already received support through existing programs.
Barkley also addressed concerns that some ranchers were slipping through the cracks if they were not members of the Cattleman’s Association, to which he said that they are reaching out to “various contact lists.”
“The Cattleman’s Association is a large voice, but it is not the only voice,” he says.