Canada’s wildfires spared a milk farm’s cows; soil over their heads

Canada’s wildfires have caused devastation and questions about the insurance coverage for victims, but one Canadian farmer is finding an even worse surprise on his front porch: a herd of huge dairy cows, which had floated down a lake.

Ken Warman-Sarnack, 58, saw his home burned to the ground in the devastating Alberta wildfire that killed nearly 1,600 people last summer, but, fortunately, spared his four milk cows.

His 12,000-square-foot home near the town of High River, Alberta, was just the first part of the dairy farm to burn. The rains this week proved an even bigger threat to his livelihood.

“I saw a little bit of water on the bank, went and got my boot and water was coming over the edge, came back up,” Warman-Sarnack told CBC News. “I was concerned that the cows weren’t able to get out of there.”

So Warman-Sarnack and his children were among a growing number of people to save the cattle, who were drinking from the now-filled lake and seemed frightened by the rising water, CBC News reported.

“My kids and I decided to step it up, and we put a gravel beach in there to keep the water out. A lot of it, the water just ran right over the bottom,” Warman-Sarnack said.

The owners of a nearby cabin called for help, but the herd was rescued by their neighbor, who had a snowmelt shovel. His wife shoveled the snow off, and Warman-Sarnack enlisted his niece to drag their wayward cattle to a safe place.

The cattle stayed warm and comfortable.

“I’m just relieved to have the cows all right. It’s been really hot, and the skies have not been clear. So I’m very fortunate. I’m just looking forward to them coming home,” Warman-Sarnack said.


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