Thanks to the help of neighbours, a fire south of Homestead Coulee could have been much worse than it was.
On the morning of Sunday, November 12, a fire broke out on the Gillespie family farm. Laurie tells the Mail they were unaware until the keen eye of a neighbour alerted them.
“I live in the river valley, so I don’t always see smoke. We were alerted that we were smoking down here by a neighbour who lives up top,” said Laurie. “I have a house that has a million windows, but none that looks at the silage pit where the fire was at.”
Their neighbour, Mark Coutts, texted the family asking them if they were alright. Laurie confirmed they were okay until Coutts said he saw smoke. They went outside and saw the silage pit on fire.
“There were lots of red flames around our silage pit. So we were unbelievably pleased. We could have sat in our house and not have known,” she said.
The Homestead Coulee Fire Department and the Hanna Fire Department responded and put out the fire.
“They were professional and so nice. We are always grateful to live in a small community,” she said.
She is also grateful for neighbours Daniel Branson and Andy Andrus, who brought heavy equipment to move bales and salvage their food for the coming season.
“Even the people who are not on the fire department, they came down too. That’s the thing about a small community, news travels fast,” she said.
It was one more reminder of some of the benefits of living in a small community.
“We are super grateful… being in the river valley down here, and all the grass and the cottonwood trees. It is a tinder-rich environment. We were also grateful there was no wind because we had that hellacious wind that night,” she said. “We could have burned the whole countryside down.”
“We got the best possible outcome that could be for something that was uncontrollable.”