Several hundred head of livestock killed by wildfires

Assessments are still underway but Saskatchewan Agriculture is estimating at least several hundred head of livestock are dead as a result of the Oct. 17 fires.

Grant Zalinko, executive director of the livestock branch, urged affected farmers and ranchers to contact the Farm Stress Line.

“We’re receiving reports that approximately 400 animals have either perished or had to be euthanized as a result of the fires,” he said.

Producers take great pride in and provide excellent care to their livestock, he said.

“The loss of these animals is very difficult to cope with and I want to encourage any producer to reach out to health care services in their communities,” Zalinko said.

The farm stress line number is 1-800-667-4442.

The ministry is working with producers, veterinarians and rural municipalities to make sure the dead livestock are disposed of properly. Those with questions are asked to contact the Ag Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.

He also extended condolences to the family of James Hargrave, a rancher who died during the firefighting efforts.

Provincial emergency management commissioner Duane McKay said 50 fire departments were involved in fighting what he called “an extremely dynamic and fast moving” situation.

A fly-over of the main fire areas Wednesday indicated the Burstall fire covered about 75,000 acres, while the Tompkins fire covered nearly 10,000 acres.

There was no update Thursday on the condition of the two men injured fighting the fire on their own land near Tompkins.

McKay said the aerial view showed significant impacts to fences, livestock and feed that are still being assessed.

“Obviously we’ll be looking at the cause and origin,” he said.

The province has imposed a fire ban for all Crown land and provincial parks south of Highway 16 to the southern border and local municipalities may do the same.

SaskPower spokesperson Jordan Jackle said there were about 600 customers without power as of 11 a.m. Thursday due to the significant wind storm that fueled the prairie fires. He said calls continue to come in.

Larger concentrations of outages included 200 between Melfort and Wadena, 150 in the Kamsack area, 150 in the Sturgis area, 100 around Abbey and about 20 in Shaunavon.

The corporation has received 40,000 calls related to the fire and wind storms.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

 

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