Behold your horses: Hot pink mare in B.C. a rare bright spot in wildfire news
Generally, people who are forced to leave their horses behind write contact details on the animals with a livestock crayon. A Likely, B.C. teenager had a better idea.
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As approximately 14,000 people flee the wildfires spreading across the British Columbia, a family in Likely has found an unlikely bright spot in the chaos.
The bright spot is their newly-neon horse, appropriately named Rosy.
As news of the fire reached their hobby farm, Likely resident Cindy Roddick says she asked her son Jacob, 15, to write the family’s phone number on their two horses.
But in the heat of the moment, Jacob decided to go all in with a can of non-toxic spray paint instead.
“What the hell happened to my horse?” Cindy recalls saying. "Just bright pink. Bright. Oh my God."
Apparently, Jacob misunderstood the instructions. He thought his mom wanted the horse to be visible in the bush.
"I thought she told me to just spray paint the entire horse to make it visible, so that way, if we had to let them go, people could find them," he said.
To be fair, it sounds like Rosy doesn't mind her new look.
"She's old so she doesn't really give a (care) about anything anymore other than just eating," Jacob laughed. "She's a very expensive lawn ornament."
Generally, people who are forced to leave their horses behind attach ID cards to them, or write down addresses and phone numbers with a livestock crayon.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, evacuating large animals like horses takes more time and extra levels of pre-planning. The NFPA also recommends asking for a little help from your friends.
“If you don’t have trailer space for all your horses, have a plan that includes neighbors, friends or relatives that have trailers and can help,” the site says.
Members of rural communities often have to depend on each other during large-scale disasters.
Charity Wiley, with the Clearwater Horse Club in Alberta, knows first-hand how critical teamwork can be during an evacuation.
On the one-year anniversary of the Fort McMurray wildfire, she recalled the lengths her community went to in order to help.
“I know that there were quite a few (horses) lost in the harder hit areas, but to think of how many were rescued, it’s hopeful,” she said. “It just goes to show that life is valued here and it’s not just a working town, it’s a caring community. People have each others’ backs.”
Around 1,000 B.C. firefighters are working around the clock to fight the wildfires, with more crews and support staff arriving from all over the country.
Whether it’s sharing resources, uniting to fight the flames, or merely posting a photo online that’s guarenteed to make people smile online, it’s clear that the same sense of resilience and compassion is manifest in the stories coming out of B.C. so far.
With files from the Canadian Press