Ranch owners protecting property despite evacuations

Rancher: 'We have responsibility to our animals'

Ranch owners protecting property despite evacuations

ONO, Calif. - Despite evacuation orders stemming from the Bully Fire, some Shasta County residents have chosen to stay put.

It goes against what emergency personnel are suggesting. But for two Ono ranchers in the evacuation zone, a husband and wife, their livestock is their livelihood.

"We are first in line when it comes to self defense, but we as ranchers also have responsibilities to animals that normal settlers don't have," said V&O Ranch co-owner and operator Peer Lindemann.

Hard road closures are in place in the remote area of Shasta County. A plume of smoke sets the backdrop for people living in the area. They have been ordered to get out as the Bully Fire continued to burn Monday. Mandatory evacuations are in place on Big Foot Road and Sunny Hill Road. Advisory evacuations remain in place for the area east of Rainbow Lake Road.

But on land they have owned for 12 years, and a house they built themselves, leaving is not an option for Peer and his wife Pascale. Their ranch sits on 600-700 acres of land and is filled with goats, horses, and chickens.

They watched, from their front porch on Old Bully Choop Road, as the fire started Friday, July 11.

"It's very, very intimidating," Pascale Lindemann said. "It was a fire that we could see from our front door."

More than 5,000-acres were charred around them with fire planes circling high above Monday afternoon. But they are staying put trusting the defensible space their goats have cleared on their land.

Still, they remain concerned.

"When you see huge clouds of smoke, huge flames, you still don't feel 100% safe," Pascale said.

They are watching from a distance and keeping track of every movement the fire makes.

"We are constantly on it. We realize that the direction that the fire was taking over to what is now the new Bigfoot Road, that we would lose some of our land. It's not a major concern," Peer said. "We will have some good grass growing back a couple years from now."

The Lindemann's are building on their workers mentality even in an emergency, helping to also look after their neighbors' animals.

No rest for the husband and wife combo as their home is also serving as a temporary shelter for United States Forest Service firefighters. Pascale spent Monday night cooking meals for them.

"They are saving our lives," she said. "They are saving our properties. We should be totally dedicated to their work and help out as much as we can."

Peer and Pascale said they are ready to go and leave their land if the danger is too high. For now, they are doing whatever is needed as they wait for the all-clear from authorities.

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