Saskatchewan

Sask. premier says talks ongoing on relief funds for wildfire damage

Premier Brad Wall says more details may come next week about compensation for producers in southwest Saskatchewan whose land and livestock were damaged by wildfires last month.

NDP agriculture critic says producers affected by Oct. 17 fires growing concerned as winter sets in

The fire near Burstall, Sask. covered more than 30,000 hectares while the Tompkins fire was about 4,000 hectares in size. (Jenny Hagan/Backroad Photography)

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says more details may come next week about compensation for producers whose land and livestock were damaged by wildfires last month.

Powerful winds spread wildfires near the southwestern communities of Burstall, Leader and Tompkins on Oct. 17, killing about 750 cattle.

Saskatchewan NDP agriculture critic Carla Beck said thousands of acres of pasture land was also damaged.

She said producers are now concerned about what relief funds — if any — are available to them, citing worries they won't be able to access the province's disaster assistance program.

NDP agriculture critic Carla Beck says producers are uncertain about what help is out there after a series of wildfires last month. (CBC)

"Losing all of the bales, feed for the winter, at a time when we've already got snow on the ground, has created a lot of uncertainty," she told reporters Thursday.

"We're asking the minister to work quickly to provide assurances to these producers that there will be provincial funds available for them."

Wall said inquiries are being made to see what compensation is possible through the province's disaster assistance program, which is shared with the federal government.

Sask. Premier Brad Wall says he'll have more to say about disaster relief next week. (CBC)

'Loss was very significant'

He told reporters he will have more to say about help early next week.

"The loss was very significant in terms of not just cattle, but you think fences and some buildings," said Wall.

"We want to find a way to responsibly help those folks."

In the meantime, both Wall and Crown Investments Minister Joe Hargrave cited some smaller relief efforts that have been available. 

For example, Hargrave said that the fee for hauling hay is being waived for farmers in the affected areas. 

With files from CBC's Stefani Langenegger

now