Thursday, November 18, 2021
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Grazing goats cutting down on wildfire fuel in Lethbridge coulees

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Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services has recruited a herd of goats to help reduce the risk of local wildfires.

The animals had been grazing in the river bottom over the summer to help out with weed control, but now a new pilot project aims to cut down on the amount of highly-flammable brush in some undeveloped grassland areas within city limits.

Lethbridge Fire Prevention Officer Jeff Marriott says by using the goats to chew through some of the tall grass in the coulees can really reduce the fire risk. “This will hopefully mitigate some of those problems. Especially at this time of year. Our last major grass fires were in the fall, so if we are able to cut the grass down a bit using goats that will help mitigate the fires.”

The goats are working along Scenic Drive South in the Fleetwood and London Road areas and are expected to cover approximately 12 hectares of land. These areas were identified for the pilot because they are close to residential housing and have steep topography, making it more difficult for fire vehicles to access.

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A $20,000 grant from Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) is being used to fund the project.

One of the best ways to control wildfires is to control the amount of fuel available to feed the flames. Other methods of fire suppression such as prescribed burns and mowing are difficult, if not impossible in residential areas and on steep coulees.

Marriott says places in the United States, in California and Colorado, have been using the animals for a while for fire suppression purposes. He notes Lethbridge is the first place in Alberta and possibly the first in Canada to try this.

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Patrick Siedlecki

Pat has been a mainstay in the CJOC News department from the time the station launched in 2007. He’s been in the position of News Director since then and has been anchoring daily news casts as well as reporting and working behind the scenes.

Community is important to him and keeping CJOC listeners and readers informed about what’s happening across southern Alberta and beyond.

Pat has been in radio broadcasting for the past 24 years, starting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in 1997 and then moving up island to Nanaimo for another few years before heading to Lethbridge in 2007.

Pat grew up in the small Saskatchewan farming town of Foam Lake. After high school, he went to Western Academy Broadcasting College (WABC) in Saskatoon prior to moving to the island.

Pat also spent several years broadcasting hockey in the BCHL as well as seven years as the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and Funeral Assistant since 2016.

News and sports have always been Pat’s passion from the time he was a teenager and he’s always been grateful to have had the opportunity to make that part of what’s been a fun and long radio career!

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