Thousands of bales of high-quality hay to feed 30 horses until April went up in flames and smoke along with the shed that was covering them at Circle Creek Equestrian in Knutsford Wednesday morning.
The blaze left ranch owner Colleen Meyer scrambling to find enough hay to get through the winter.
Some calls to her regular supplier landed her enough hay to get through the next couple of weeks, while she tries to figure out how she's going to store a larger stockpile.
She estimated she had 2,500 to 3,000 bales in her open-sided hay shed, along with equestrian jumps and irrigation equipment, when the fire broke out Wednesday morning.
Meyer, who has lived at the ranch for 20 years, was at work when her full-time ranch hand called her.
"He just said, 'The hay shed's on fire. The fire department's on its way.' I said, 'I'm coming.' That was it," she said.
"I'm still very thankful there's no people involved, no horses are hurt."
Her first concern was for her five horses and the 25 others whose owners have trusted her to board for them.
"The first reaction is, how do I feed my horses?"
With a hay source secured, Meyer is turning her attention to storage. The hay was insured, but the shed and other equipment inside were not. She calculated replacing her uninsured losses could cost $40,000 to $50,000.
No people or animals were hurt, and the fire was far away enough that no main ranch buildings were threatened.
Kamloops Fire and Rescue initially put out a call for full crews to go to the scene. But access was limited, so bush trucks were the only ones able to respond.
Kamloops Fire and Rescue inspector Dan Funk said because no major structures were involved, the cause of the fire will be investigated Thursday after the scene has cooled down.
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