Skip to main content

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall appear at a news conference at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building in Regina, Sask., Friday, July 24, 2015.MARK TAYLOR/The Canadian Press

Premier Brad Wall accompanied Stephen Harper to northern Saskatchewan on Friday to give the prime minister a look at the destruction caused by wildfires.

Mr. Wall says the cost of fighting wildfires in northern Saskatchewan this year will top $100-million.

Wall and Harper were in La Ronge, one of the largest communities threatened in late June and early July.

About 13,000 people from 50 communities had to flee their homes, but have now been allowed to return.

At a news conference later in Regina, Harper said he and Wall discussed several ideas for improving how forest fires in the country are fought.

Harper joined British Columbia Premier Christy Clark on Thursday as they met crews who have been fighting an out-of-control fire near West Kelowna.

Both B.C. and Saskatchewan have been ravaged by wildfires this year, and have asked the federal government to improve on a national program already in place to help provinces fight fires.

"Our government does stand by and is ready to assist any province or territory that requests federal assistance in fighting forest fires," Harper said in Regina. "We're happy to work with the provinces and territories on ways to better help them respond to forest fires in the future."

Two improvements Clark and Wall have suggested are an enhanced military presence during wildfires and a national cache of technology.

"We're going to review what we could do to better anticipate, better respond and mitigate ... these types of incidents," Harper said.