The Alberta government has shared a notice regarding emergency grazing options for ranchers and livestock producers affected by the wildfires.
As part of the provincial state of emergency, the province is accepting applications for temporary grazing on vacant public lands. More information can be found by calling 310-LAND (5263.)
Alberta Forestry, Parks & Tourism says grazing disposition holders with unused grazing capacity can also accept animals from other producers as long as the following conditions are met:
- Grazing disposition holders remain responsible for stewardship of the disposition.
- Grazing disposition holders who accept other livestock must report the additional livestock on the lease within seven calendar days to their local rangeland agrologist.
- Grazing disposition holders must report any measures taken with respect to supplemental feeding within seven calendar days.
- The health of the rangeland must be maintained.
- The use by the other livestock must be reported on the disposition holder’s stock return.
The province is encouraging ranchers with private or leased lands and additional grazing capacity to support their neighbours and accept livestock from other producers who are looking to relocate their cattle. Rodeo grounds, exhibition grounds and auction markets are also temporary options, the province says.
The wildfires have destroyed fences and corrals, in addition to vast areas for grazing on private and Crown land. Since most of the burnt land is forested, the hope is there will only be a slight delay to animal entry, provided infrastructure can be replaced, and — the big if — if there’s sufficient moisture.
As of May 23, the province is reporting 71 active wildfires, with 20 burning out of control and 16 categorized as “being held.”
10,872 evacuees have registered with the province, while more than 2,700 people are currently involved in battling the fires, including firefighters from across Canada and the U.S., as well as members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
More coverage of the wildfire situation in Alberta:
- Total number of cattle impacted by wildfires unknown at this time
- Ranchers race to move livestock during spring wildfires