Hundreds of livestock dead after fires in southwest Sask.

Funding up in the air for Sask. farmers dealing with loss of cattle after fire

Hundreds of livestock perished in the wildfires that tore through southwest Saskatchewan earlier this week.

The current estimate, based on reports from veterinarians working directly with producers, is that about 400 livestock died or were euthanized.

"The loss of these animals is very difficult to cope with," said Grant Zalinko, executive director of the Ministry of Agriculture's livestock branch.

Zalinko encouraged producers to reach out for health care services, if needed, including the province's Farm Stress Line or the ministry's knowledge centre. 

The livestock loss does not include livestock that may have escaped the wildfires and are still at large. Anyone whose livestock may be at large is asked to call the Ministry of Agriculture's livestock services or the RCMP. 

Thousands of hectares burned

The fires saw the communities of Leader, Burstall and Liebenthal evacuated as people flocked to nearby communities.

The fire at Burstall burned about 30,000 hectares of land while the fire near Tompkins was about 4,000 hectares.

​During the firefighting efforts, an Alberta man, James Hargrave, died in single-vehicle rollover.

Two Saskatchewan men from the Tompkins area were also injured, though the extent of their injuries is unknown. 

Fire ban

In addition, the province's director of wildfire management, Steve Roberts, announced a fire ban is now in effect in the province. 

The ban includes all parkland and areas south of Highway 16 to the southern Saskatchewan border.

The ban will remain in place until winds are stable.