For Penticton’s Georgina Doumont, doing nothing while others struggle in the fire-ravaged parts of the province is not an option.
Having owned livestock and operated a wildlife recovery centre, she especially feels the pain of ranchers, who are among the hardest hit in those regions.
The final straw was seeing a video about a Chilcotin ranch owner and manager and what lies ahead for them.
“Animals always have been a big part of my life. I know far too well the impact that humans have on wildlife, and I also know what it costs to raise and keep livestock,” said Doumont. “Now, I’m sitting here and it hasn’t affected me at all. When I go outside, the smoke bothers my eyes and I can’t talk, but that’s nothing compared to what these people are going through and I’m not one to sit back and watch somebody go through hardship if there’s something I can do about it.
“My heart goes out to the animals because I can’t even imagine. I mean they’ve been burnt to death. I’ve had horses myself and cows so I know. How are they even containing the ones they have left? And, how are they feeding them? They say they don’t have enough hay to get them through winter.”
So to that end she started a GoFundMe page: Where there is smoke, there’s hope (https://www.gofundme.com/Where-there-is-smoke-there-is-hope?) with the goal of raising $75,000 which she plans to partner with the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association to get the help where it’s needed most.
Doumont’s aim is to reach out to as many people as possible to see if they can help financially to let wildfire victims know that all of B.C. cares about them.
“A year ago when Fort McMurray was on fire and so many people lost so much it just made my heart sick. Sick for the families. Sick for the animals and sick for all the wildlife that were affected for months. My heart ached.”
In the video from the Chilcotin fire, Chilco Ranch manager Jordan Grier said: “We lost a pile of hay. There is no grass left from one end to the other. How we survive is the grass and the animals and without that — and the hay, and the fences and the structures — it’s pretty daunting. We’re all very fortunate to be alive. The impact of what’s gone on here is basically catostrophic. There’s no other way to put it”
Doumont’s plea: “There is no way that anyone, I mean anyone, can sit back and say it doesn’t affect you because it does in so many ways … please help however you can.”