The owners of one of Red Indian Lake Adventures’ two hunting lodges are counting their lucky stars – and praising the efforts of the firefighters from the forestry services branch of the provincial Department of Natural Resources.
“They really saved our lives,” said Shirley Thorne, who with her husband Fred operates a lodge on Hinds Lake, in addition to another lodge on Red Indian Lake. There, a major forest fire has been burning since June 20.
As of Monday, the status of that fire had not changed since the weekend, covering an area of 476 hectares, according to provincial forest fire duty officer Eric Young.
“It hasn’t grown in size,” he added. “We have had 34 people and two helicopters up there all weekend. It hasn’t been necessary to bring in the water bomber. At this stage now, it’s all ground work. You have to go and clean up the hot spots and small stumps that are burning.
“There were a lot of flare-ups and hot spots, and we’re trying our best to knock it down,” said Young. “Until we get a big pile of rain, it’s going to be a lot of work.”
At least the firefighters on site have somewhere to decompress between shifts as they continue to work on extinguishing the fire: the Thornes’ other hunting lodge at Red Indian Lake.
“It’s certainly going to impact a lot of our business, but it would have been a lot worse if the firefighters had not done such a wonderful job,” she said. “They really saved our lodge.
“They called us, and we immediately prepared for people,” Thorne added. “It’s been great because it actually kept our mind off the worry of the fire at the other lodge. It was great to put the extra effort into taking care of them. If it weren’t for them, we would have lost the other lodge.”
She added the outfitters lost two aluminum boats, a motor, and a trailer that they had docked at the end of Hinds Lake, about where the fire started.
“We certainly weren’t expecting that to happen. We had a few hard days where we were really concerned about losing the lodge,” she said. “It was nothing short of a miracle that we didn’t lose it.”