CYPRESS COUNTY — The provincial government has introduced programs to assist farmers and ranchers affected by the Hilda wildfires two months ago.
In a news release Wednesday, Dec. 20, the government says an assistance program is being set up through the Agriculture Financial services corporation (AFSC). Under the program, eligible ranchers and farmers can apply for an interest free loan to help fund working capital, pay expenses and help replace assets.
In addition, the Wildfire Water Supply Program will be available to help replace watering systems damaged by the fire.
“Albertans come together to help each other in times of need,” said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry in a statement. “This time, we are putting our strengths together to support those affected by the wildfires in and around the community of Hilda. I am immensely grateful to everyone who has stepped up to help.”
The wildfire, which ignited on Oct. 17, burned approximately 35,000 hectares in Cypress and Acadia counties. The total amount of damage has not been tallied, but buildings, fences pastures and field have all been damaged.
Almost 200 head of cattle were killed as a result of the fire.
Cypress County has voted to pay for the cost of disposal of the dead animals and also agreed to refund property taxes from 2017 to affected landowners.
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