Kristina Leduc snapped this photo from the saddle of her horse while moving the cattle herd into the Deadman’s Creek Rodeo Grounds. (Kristina Leduc photo)

Kristina Leduc snapped this photo from the saddle of her horse while moving the cattle herd into the Deadman’s Creek Rodeo Grounds. (Kristina Leduc photo)

Moving cattle out of a wildfire hot zone

The out of control Sparks Lake wildfire continues and so does the evacuation of both people and livestock from threatened areas, including the Deadman River Valley which is known for a number of historic ranches and range lands to the west of Kamloops.

Cattle on summer range usually don’t come out of the hills before fall arrives when their natural instinct is to move down to the home ranch as the nights get cooler. Trying to move them down into the heat of the valley in the summer is not easy at the best of times, with a temperature in the high 40°C’s they are not willing to move anywhere.

That was the problem last week when a rancher tried to get his cattle out of the hills around the Deadman due to the Sparks Lake wildfire. The roundup was first attempted on quads and on foot but no progress was made. Everyone was exhausted and the bovines were starting to stress from the smoke and the heat.

In answer to a request for help, Kyra Blackburn from Louis Creek, and Kristina Leduc from Little Fort, volunteered to take on the job. The pair trailered their horses to the Deadman, and then headed off into the hills, to find the herd. Once found they pushed the cows down off the range, out of the ‘hot zone’ and into the Deadman’s Creek Rodeo Grounds where trucks and trailers were already waiting to haul them out.

The ladies noted that while they were rounding up the cattle a friend was tracking them via GPS while at the same time tracking the fire to keep them safe.

Both Blackburn and Leduc are members of the North Thompson Agriplex Livestock Evacuation Centre (NTA-EVAC) team based at the North Thompson Fall Fairgrounds in Barriere.

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