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‘You can’t give up’: B.C. family battling massive nearby wildfire to save their ranch

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In the B.C. Interior, the owners of Cunningham Ranch are doing all they can to fight the Flat Lake fire and prevent the flames from encroaching on their land and livelihood – Jul 18, 2021

One family in the B.C. Interior is doing everything they can to save their ranch from the massive Flat Lake fire burning nearby.

The Cunningham family, which owns the Bishop Meadow Ranch near 100 Mile, is working around the clock to protect everything they have from the 15,838-hectare blaze.

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“Everybody sticks together,” owner Keith Cunningham told Global News.

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He said they helped neighbours fight a nearby fire a few years ago and now their neighbours are helping them.

The Cunningham family has owned and operated a ranch in the area since the 1800s and this is not their first wildfire fight.

“You can’t give up,” Cunningham said.

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Most of the time the small but mighty crew is hosing down the property and cutting out a fire line by clearing a strip of trees.

They can see and smell the Flat Lake fire burning nearby.

“You can’t quit ’cause it ain’t quitting,” Cunningham said.

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On Sunday, the B.C. Wildfire Service said there was a small amount of fire growth to the southeast and at the time there were no structures lost. Helicopters bucketed the area and structure protection personnel were also in the area.

There was no growth towards 100 Mile House and Highway 97.

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On Monday, crews will continue working with heavy equipment to gain access and establish indirect control lines down the east flank south of Bullock Lake Road and around the southeast corner of the fire to support planned ignitions that will occur when conditions permit, the Wildfire Service said.

Contingency lines are also be constructed to the east and south of the fire. There are 10 crew members assigned to night operations to monitor the fire and 14 helicopters available to continue to action the fires within this complex with bucketing activities.

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—With files from Paul Johnson and Pat Bell

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