September 15, 2017 10:33 pm
Updated: September 15, 2017 10:41 pm

‘Devastated’: Waterton Alpine Stables destroyed in fire

A longtime family business is being forced to rebuild after their trail-riding operation was destroyed in the Kenow wildfire. Matt Battochio reports.


A southern Alberta family is being faced with the task of rebuilding their longtime family business, Alpine Stables, after it was destroyed in the Kenow wildfire.

“We lost a lot of things that were quite precious that we just didn’t have time to evacuate,” said Dee Barrus, Alpine Stables’ founder and president.

READ MORE: Waterton wildfire update: re-entry to park, townsite could take weeks

Friday morning, the family sifted through some burnt items they brought back to their family ranch. A few things to remember the trail-riding business by; some horse shows, a charred bench, and the remnants of an old clock.

“It’s tough, it’s really tough. We did evacuate everything we could in short notice. All the horses were taken out ahead of time. We removed a bunch of saddles and things like that,” Barrus said. “We only had about four or five hours to clear everything out.”

Family business Alpine Stables was destroyed in the Kenow fire.

Photo Credit: Deb Watson

Barrus started Alpine Stables in 1969, it’s been a family business since the beginning with three generations working together.

“[We’re] devastated,” Barrus’s son-in-law Jeff Watson said through tears. “There’s a lot of memories and all the kids were raised there.”

Times are incredibly hard, but this family is as tough as they are resilient, telling Global News Friday they have already started the plans to rebuild Alpine Stables.

A photo of Alpine Stables prior to it being destroyed by the Kenow wild fire.

Photo Credit:

“Oh absolutely, we’re going to completely rebuild,” Barrus said. “After all, it’s only 50 years old and the buildings like that, so we’re going to completely rebuild it, yes. We’ve heard from some pretty influential government people already who want us to rebuild.”

Barrus hopes to make the new Alpine Stables ‘bigger and better’, but admits it won’t be the same without the beautiful scenery.

“The landscape and trees that we depended on for the setting that we liked, they’re gone now,” Barrus said. “We’re looking at 30 years before it will be like it was.”

The family hopes to have the new Alpine Stable built by May of 2018.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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