The fight to save 500 ostriches on a B.C. farm surrounded by wildfires

An evacuation order has been issued for the residents of the remote Kootenay community of Edgewood. As Aaron McArthur reports, the village, located on the west shore of Lower Arrow Lake, is now surrounded by fire.

Karen Espersen and Trevor Klug are currently in the fight of their lives.

They own an ostrich farm in the small community of Edgewood, in the West Kootenay region of southeastern B.C.

The community has been ordered to evacuate due to wildfires burning all around them but Espersen and Klug can’t leave.

They own an ostrich farm where 500 of the animals live and they’ve now taken in other livestock from their neighbours and are caring for them as well.

“We have three pumps going. We have fire hose for 1,000 feet, we’ve been wetting the insides of our barns down, we’re wetting every single thing, the birds down every day,” Espersen told Global News.

Read more:
B.C. wildfire map 2021: Location and size of the fires burning around the province

There are about 350 properties in the community but fires are burning on both sides of Lower Arrow Lake.

The Michaud Creek wildfire is currently 2,670 hectares in size and has forced not only the community of Edgewood but Needles north to Whatshan Lake to evacuate as well.

On the other side of the lake is the Octopus Creek fire, which is an estimated 3,192 hectares in size.

That fire has forced the evacuation of the community of Fauquier.

“It was like we had fires on all sides of us and the highway was closed,” Espersen said.

“So in and out was closed all the way around us.”

About 500 ostriches live on this farm in Edgewood B.C. and they can't be evacuated despite wildfires burning all around them.

About 500 ostriches live on this farm in Edgewood B.C. and they can't be evacuated despite wildfires burning all around them.

GoFundMe
The Michaud Creek wildfire seen on July 20, 2021.

The Michaud Creek wildfire seen on July 20, 2021.

Submitted to Global News

Read more:
Evacuation order issued for B.C. communities of Edgewood, Needles due to nearby wildfire

Strong winds continue to remain a huge concern for crews trying to gain the upper hand on these fires.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the ostriches and the other livestock currently living at the farm.

According to the fundraiser, Espersen and Klug need feed and hay for the animals and gas for generators, water, and other supplies.

The Octopus Creek wildfire as seen on July 20, 2021.

The Octopus Creek wildfire as seen on July 20, 2021.

BC Wildfire Service

— with files from Jules Knox and Aaron Mcarthur

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

You May Also Like

Top Stories