Saskatchewan cattle producers are keeping a close eye on the wildfire situation in the province, as well as to what’s happening in Alberta.
CEO of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association Grant McLellan says they will be prepared should the situation take a turn for the worst.
Right now he is cautiously optimistic about the current situation in Saskatchewan, given the improvement in the number of wildfires contained and from observing evacuations from some northern communities.
“As the wildfire map kind of shows, it’s still a fairly present kind of danger, the risk is still relatively high, especially with us in the industry facing a number of years of drought in a row, we’re certainly hopeful that we get some moisture in the forecast here very shortly,” said McLellan. “Right now it’s a wait-and-see approach, there are some concerns about air quality and that’s something we’re keeping an eye on.”
McLellan adds they’re more looking at their partners and counterparts in Alberta to ensure “things are going fine with them” given the seriousness of the wildfire situation there.
He noted producers in the Lloydminster area are monitoring the fires.
“Obviously they are in closer proximity to the tree line in northern Saskatchewan, but they’re also in the highest risk area right now where the fire risk map is, but it’s something like I said we’re keeping a very close watch on it and having regular conversations with our producers and our board members to make sure that if there’s any additional steps or actions that need to be taken that we’ll be ready to do that.”
Some steps include working with their counterparts in Alberta, as well as the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency.
“In the past there have been fundraising efforts to provide feed for folks or supports for anybody that may have lost access to pastureland. I think of the Burstall fire that happened a number of years ago in Saskatchewan. It’s really a matter of bringing the industry together and seeing what resources can be brought to bear.” McLellan said.
As of 3:09 p.m. today, there are 16 active wildfires – 10 contained, 2 being monitored, and 4 not contained – according to the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency’s wildfire status dashboard.
Hear the interview with Grant McLellan below.