Meadow Lake volunteers brave wildfires to rescue animals left after evacuation
Humane Society rescues 46 dogs and 1 cat to reunite with owners
In the midst of wildfires that continue to scorch central Saskatchewan, animal lovers battled the haze and smoke to rescue pets from a First Nation that was evacuated this past week.
A wildfire called the Tuff fire, one of eight active fires currently raging in the province, came too close for comfort to the only road in and out of Waterhen Lake First Nation. That fire forced 857 residents to flee their homes over Monday and Tuesday.
"They didn't have the option to bring their pets," said Jillian Doucet, president of the Meadow Lake and District Humane Society.
Knowing this, the humane society stepped in, making an arrangement with the City of Meadow Lake to use the local arena to house the pets until their owners could pick them up.
Doucet said that a core group of volunteers worked with community members providing security to head into Waterhen Lake Tuesday afternoon. Bringing in a few vehicles and a horse trailer, those volunteers picked up 46 dogs and one cat to bring back to the Meadow Lake arena.
"Everyone handled it really well," she said, noting the volunteers kept up communication with the command centre to make sure everyone could get in and out of the community safely.
The humane society put up the pictures of the pets on its Facebook site, to let the owners know their pets had been taken to safety until they could return to pick them up.
Grateful pet owners identified their pets, with one mother noting her children's dog Coojo was among the rescues and writing, "Thank you for taking him to safety."
On the ground in Prince Albert
Premier Scott Moe was in Prince Albert at the headquarters for wildfire management Wednesday, with a planned tour of some of the fires in the region. The so-called Rally fire has also forced evacuations of the community of Crutwell, with that fire blazing over 2,000 hectares in size and not contained.
Wednesday had proven to provide some more manageable conditions for firefighters, with humidity up and temperatures down from the heavy warmth of the day before, he said.
"Today we're in a hold mode with these fires and trying to get them in a small area as possible," Moe said, adding his hope the days ahead would bring the moisture called for in forecasts.
"Ultimately a little bit of rain would be very, very helpful."