Fierce winds created dozens of firestorms that whipped fast across cattle grazing lands in Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma. Cattle have perished, land is charred and hundreds of miles of fence line is gone.
American Cattle News’ Patrick Cavanaugh spoke with several people in the key areas and filed this audio report.
Here’s a link to a map showing fire areas and livestock feed locations.
“It’s all hands on deck to get hay and other feed sources to cattlemen who have lost all grazing land,” said Jeremy Fuchs, the spokesperson for Texas Southwest Cattle Raisers Association. “There is quite a bit of impact on Texas ranchers,” Fuchs said.
Fuchs said that 30 special Texas Rangers are working with cattleman throughout the affected areas to help them with lost cattle, and found cattle.
“Our job right now as Texas AgriLife Extension, is to gather feed and hay supplies to feed the cattle for two to three weeks. That is our assignment,” said Mike Jeffcoat, a Gray County extension agent where fires destroyed much of the grazing land and structures.
“On Saturday we unloaded 1,851 round bales, and three truck loads of cattle feed, and it’s still arriving daily,” said Jeffcoat. “If there is too much in one place we will transfer it to another place in need.”
And Oklahoma was not spared, noted Chancey Hanson is the spokesperson for the Oklahoma Cattleman’s Association.
“I spoke with one of our members who have an operation in Knowles, OK, where there are three generations working on the operation terribly impacted by the fires,” Hanson said.
“I visited with the grandpa of the crew, and of course he was pretty emotional. He said he’s never seen anything like this before,” she said. “They pretty much lost all their grassland, and they had a little bit of wheat where some cattle had congregated. That’s the only cattle they had left,” said Hanson.
“Luckily they didn’t lose any of their homes where people were living, and they still had some of their equipment,” Hanson said. “He was positive in that regard, but knowing that he was blessed to have his home and his family, but it’s pretty emotional.”
“It took everything,” noted Scarlett Hagins with the Kansas Livestock Association
“There were 23 fires in 23 Kansas counties, and the wind along with extremely dry conditions, we had a pretty heavy fuel load, especially the tall grass in many areas,” said Hagins. “You add all that together and it combines to form the perfect storm unfortunately, and that fire was burning fast and hot. It just took everything so quickly,” she added.