Alberta government to provide interest-free loans to farmers hit by fall wildfires

Emergency alert issued because of wildfire in Cypress County in October 2017. Submitted by Garrett Fuhr

Interest-free loans are being offered to ranchers and farmers who lost livestock and other property to October’s wildfires across a vast region of southern Alberta.

The province said in a release Wednesday that an assistance program is being set up through the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation that will provide aid to eligible producers for working capital, to cover expenses and replace lost property.

READ MORE: Officials release cause of Sharp Hill wildfire

As well, the government said its Wildfire Water Supply Program will be available to help replace watering systems damaged by the flames.

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Information and applications will be available starting Jan. 8.

The wind-whipped fires burned about 350 square kilometres in the counties of Cypress and Acadia and killed nearly 200 head of cattle.

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READ MORE: Raccoon clings to road sign as wildfire flares up in Cypress County, Alta.

The government says beside livestock, the losses include pastures, fields, fences and buildings.

The fires also sparked local states of emergency and triggered short-term evacuations involving hundreds of people.

More than a dozen homes were destroyed.

Watch below: Ongoing video coverage of the October southern Alberta wildfires

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