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Fire relief efforts for Biggar, Sask. ranchers

Fire relief efforts for Biggar, Sask. ranchers

The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association is collecting donations for producers affected by the wildfire

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

A Saskatchewan farm group has launched a fundraising effort to support ranchers affected by a wildfire.

The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) is collecting donations to help producers near Biggar recover after last week’s wildfire that destroyed thousands of acres of land and almost 100 miles (160 km) of fence.

“We determined there was between 25 and 30 producers affected,” Paula Larson, a producer from D’Arcy, Sask. and director with the SSGA, told Farms.com. “Over 25,000 acres of pasture or grazing land burned.”

The overall drought conditions have caused feed shortages and could result in higher feed prices, she added.

Producers aren’t required to be part of the organization to receive assistance.

Ranchers are now assessing the damage to their pasturelands.

How much time the land needs to recover depends on how the fire spread over it, said Bob Heather, an area producer who experienced fire damage.

“Some of this grass will come back really fast because some of the fire just skimmed over the top and burnt it off really quick,” he told CJWW yesterday. “But, wherever it burned slow, it’s going to be a year or two before it recovers to where it was.”

The blaze began as a grass fire in the Argo Bush on April 22. High winds and dry conditions helped the fire spread quickly.

The wildfire is now out thanks in part to farmers.

Producers showed up with equipment to help firefighters stop the blaze from causing any more damage, said Jeanne-Marie de Moissac, reeve of the Rural Municipality of Biggar.

“Every farmer that could brought something to till the earth,” she told Farms.com. “From tractors to cultivators, they helped build up fire guards to keep the fire from spreading. The whole community came together to support one another in different ways. It was great to see.”

Kayle Neis/The Canadian Press photo

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