Prescribed burns are part of a five-year research project conducted by the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the University of Saskatchewan at the Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area.  |  Nature Conservancy of Canada photo

Controlled fires can prevent wildfires: research

Prescribed burns at a conservation site in Saskatchewan help researchers understand importance of fire on the prairie

Bone-dry conditions have put a damper on further research using fire at Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area in southwestern Saskatchewan. A prescribed burn this fall, organized by the Nature Conservancy of Canada and University of Saskatchewan, was cancelled. “We’re not considering a burn right now. It’s just not safe. It’s […] Read more

The area near Hilda, Alta., that burned last fall in a wildfire is no longer black but damage to pasture and cropland remains evident. | File photo

Alberta ag minister visits the big burn

Producers near Hilda, Alta., tell Oneil Carlier that recovery from last year’s wildfire has begun, but it will be slow

The area near Hilda, Alta., that burned last fall in a wildfire is no longer black but damage to pasture and cropland remains evident. Andy Kirschenman, whose family sustained crop, equipment and building losses in the fire, including his parents’ home, said recovery has begun but it will be slow. “It’s hurt, you can tell,” […] Read more

The area near Hilda, Alta., that burned last fall in a wildfire is no longer black but damage to pasture and cropland remains evident. | File photo

Alberta ag minister visits the big burn

The area near Hilda, Alta., that burned last fall in a wildfire is no longer black but damage to pasture and cropland remains evident. Andy Kirschenman, whose family sustained crop, equipment and building losses in the fire, including his parents’ home, said recovery has begun but it will be slow. “It’s hurt, you can tell,” […] Read more


The wildfires that swept across southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan last October have long been extinguished. But is the region prepared if it was to happen again?  |  File photo

Prairies brace for new fire season

Know the risks


Tinder-dry conditions this spring might have residents of southwestern Saskatchewan a little more on edge than usual. It’s been seven months since the Oct. 17 wildfires that the province’s fire commissioner has described as catastrophic. The area is typically dry, but after a summer with below normal rainfall, it was drier than usual. That evening, […] Read more

Fires left a ravaged landscape, such as this area near Burstall, Sask., and now farmers are trying to seed crops into the damaged land.  |  File photo

A land heals after devastating fire

As the dust devils dance in southeastern Alberta, farmers in the Hilda, Schuler and Acadia Valley areas plant seeds and hope for quick germination and roots that will cling to the soil. They’re planting into land ravaged by an October prairie wildfire that burned more than 25,500 cultivated acres in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Amid flames […] Read more


The fire near Bindloss, Alta., was allowed to spread as far as it did because volunteer firefighters were at one point stopped from entering the Armed Forces base to combat the flames.  |  File photo

Army base improves communications after fire

AFTERMATH CFB Suffield was blamed for a fire in Alberta last September that killed 120 cattle and scorched thousands of acres

Tempers were almost as hot as fire last year when residents from the Bindloss, Alta., area met to discuss a Sept. 11-12 prairie fire that spread from Canadian Forces Base Suffield. The blaze burned down one rancher’s home, killed about 120 cattle, burned winter feed supplies and scorched thousands of acres of native grassland and […] Read more

Getty / WP illustration

Fires continue to take toll on injured farmers

The scars of Oct. 17, 2017, won’t soon fade for those caught in prairie wildfires that night. The Hargrave family lost 35-year-old James, a rancher and volunteer firefighter with the Walsh, Alta., department, in an accident during the fire near Hilda, Alta. Father and son, Ron and Evan Wedrick of Carmichael, Sask., were severely injured […] Read more

Saskatchewan producers affected by wildfires will be eligible for some coverage under the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program after all. | William DeKay photo

Sask. offers wildfire assistance for grazing land

Saskatchewan producers affected by wildfires will be eligible for some coverage under the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program after all. The government had said that typically PDAP didn’t cover insurable losses. However, Government Relations Minister Larry Doke announced Dec. 6 that grazing land would be covered. “Tame and native grazing lands are not insurable,” he said […] Read more


The cause of an Oct. 17 wildfire that began near Hilda, Alta., and spread into Saskatchewan is likely to determine what assistance is available to farmers and ranchers who sustained losses. | File photo

Officials determining cause of Alta.-Sask. wildfire

Cause of the fire that killed livestock and destroyed buildings and fences may determine compensation strategy

The cause of an Oct. 17 wildfire that began near Hilda, Alta., and spread into Saskatchewan is likely to determine what assistance is available to farmers and ranchers who sustained losses. Alberta’s Office of the Fire Commissioner is still investigating the cause amid unconfirmed reports that the wind reignited embers in a fire pit used […] Read more

The provincial government announced Nov. 16 it will match cash donations to the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association's wildfire relief fund up to $100,000. | File photo

Sask. to match wildfire fund donations

The provincial government announced Nov. 16 it will match cash donations to the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association’s wildfire relief fund up to $100,000. “Under these circumstances and following this unprecedented event, our government believes contributing financially to this fund is the best, most flexible and fastest way to help affected farm families in the region,” […] Read more