Saskatchewan Wildfire Budget Has Dropped By Nearly Half: Opposition

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TRENT WOTHERSPOON
Saskatchewan NDP Leader Trent Wotherspoon | Liam Richards/CP
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REGINA — The Opposition NDP says it has concerns about the resources and money the Saskatchewan government has earmarked to fight forest fires.

NDP Leader Trent Wotherspoon says the provincial wildfire budget has fallen by nearly half, from $102 million in 2009-2010 to $56 million in 2015-2016.

Wotherspoon says more resources are needed due to the extreme fire risk and tinder-dry conditions.

Environment Minister Herb Cox says the province ended up spending about $130 million on a record wildfire season last year.

saskatchewan wildfire
Flames from a wildfire approach trees on the edge of the airport in La Ronge, Sask. in July 2015. Last year the province spent around $130 million on a record wildfire season. (Photo: REUTERS/Corey Hardcastle/Handout)

But Cox says it doesn't make sense to tie up that much money in the budget, adding it's better to go back and ask for more if it's needed.

He says the province is bringing back firefighters earlier this season, has hired eight more crews, and is thinning out strips of forest around several communities.

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