'We assumed our house was gone': Massive grass fire near Lumsden, Sask. burns 325 hectares
Fast-moving grass fire spread across hills and valleys nearby central Saskatchewan community
Residents east of Lumsden, Sask., had to act quickly when a massive grass fire broke out Thursday night.
Officials don't yet know what caused the blaze that quickly fanned across 325 hectares of hills and valleys, leaving a swath of damage in its wake.
Tiffany Schaefer's Happy Hollow farm and her corn maze were in the path of the flames.
She said that at first they didn't think the flames were headed toward them.
"We stood here for half an hour and thought nah, it's not going to make it. But an hour later it was 'Get out now,' " Schaefer said.
The Schaefer's four-car garage was destroyed along with the vehicles, farm equipment and memorabilia stored inside.
The house survived, but the flames came so close they melted the vinyl siding. The trampoline and other toys in the backyard were burned to a crisp.
"We assumed our house was gone just from seeing all the black smoke. But the firefighters came and said if they were five minutes later the house for sure would have been gone," she said.
Schaefer said they're lucky the buildings they use for business in the valley survived the fire, but there is still a lot of uncertainty.
"Business wise, I'm not sure yet what we're going to do. But we're strong," Schaefer said.
Down the road another family had a close call.
The Glen farm is home to 15 horses which needed to be evacuated as the flames approached the farmyard's edges.
Farm manager Shelbie O'Connell said she first saw smoke around 4 p.m. CST, but wasn't worried about it at first.
"Then a couple drove in and asked me if I noticed what was coming, and I looked over and it was like three times the size already," O'Connell said.
"Panic started to set in."
The Glen's started to evacuate the horses as soon as they realized how close the fire was coming.
"We're just really lucky. Everyone in Lumsden could not have been more helpful or better. Everybody we knew was here in an instant," said Madison Glen.
Glen said it's the first time they've seen flames so close to their home. They lost some hay fields, but the home and barns were saved.
Friday morning, parts of the charred grass near the Glen home lit up again.
Firefighters quickly came to the scene and doused the flames.
Crews say it could take a rainfall before the flare-ups stop.