Wildfire fence replacement almost complete

By Greg Fry
October 26, 2017 - 9:54am Updated: October 26, 2017 - 2:44pm

KAMLOOPS — Most of the essential livestock fencing destroyed by this summer's devastating wildfires in the Interior has been repaired.

Work on the repairs has been a partnership between the provincial government and the BC Cattlemen's Association.

$6.2 million was provided for the roughly 100 kilometres of fencing along provincial highways, along with 400 kilometres of Crown range infrastructure that was damaged or destroyed in the fires.

The conditions left ranchers and farmers at risk of losing valuable livestock and made area highways vulnerable to livestock-related vehicle incidents.

The Province says the area west of Williams Lake on Highway 20, where 60 kilometres of fencing was damaged, was the first priority. Work there has recently been completed while work on parts of Highway 97 near Ashcroft, Cache Creek, 108 Mile House and Williams Lake continues.

"Ranchers and farmers play a key role in the economy of the province, and the importance of livestock fencing cannot be overstated," said Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson. "The speed with which construction began was truly remarkable, as workers were juggling concerns for their families with the needs of their industry and community."

Kevin Boon, general manager of the BC Cattlemen's Association, adds it's a really "good news story" in terms of how well the partnership worked.

"Not so much for the protection of the livestock but to get it contained to ensure the safety of the public in utilizing those highways was key. We have hundredsd of miles of fence that's burnt out there but this was critical fence to get up and I think the reaction to get the funding in place for us to do it was phenomenal."

Motorists are advised that until work on the new fencing is completed, livestock may wander on or near highways.

 

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