In the aftermath of the Kenow wildfire, many ranchers are left picking up the pieces after several properties were destroyed just outside Waterton Lakes National Park.
For Jennifer Jenkins, it’s been two weeks since she found out her five-generation cattle ranch was destroyed in the fire.
“The loss we faced here is pretty significant,” Jenkins said. “We lost three primary residences, a small cabin, two barns, a great big battle shelter, our shop. So there’s a lot of debris around.”
This weekend hundreds of Southern Albertans rallied together as part of an event organized to help ranchers whose properties were destroyed in the fire rebuild.
“If anyone needs help everyone joins together, no matter what it is,” neighbour Curtis Webster said. “If someone needs a hand they just jump together and give them a hand.”
One of the volunteers, Norine Ambrose, knows many of the ranchers including the Jenkins who lost almost everything.
“It’s great to see that many people chipping in and helping where they can,” she said. “It doesn’t undo the fire damage but at least it helps deal with the aftermath much more quickly.”
And it wasn’t just their time people donated, but everything from heavy equipment to building materials as well.
“When you see all the support you get from local businesses, local people, fellow ranchers, oil workers, people in the construction business, all of that it’s pretty overwhelming,” family member, Frank Jenkins said.
While the extent of the damage is still being assessed, fortunately, all the cattle survived along with one of the oldest houses on the property.
With all the community support, the family says it’s a silver lining in an unfortunate situation.
“What they’ve done for me is give me hope for the future and these people don’t give you a chance to quit,” Jennifer said.