Crops Livestock News

Wildfires: Acres burned, livestock losses still being assessed


While two of the three wildfires in the Texas Pandhandle and a Northeast Colorado fire that burned 32,564 acres have been contained, crews are still battling fires across 844,000 acres in Northwest Colorado and Kansas.

The wildfires have taken the lives of four people in Texas, one in Oklahoma, and one in Kansas, and killed at least 1,500 cattle in the Panhandle, a number that continues to climb, according to reports from the Amarillo Globe News.

In Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback signed an executive order Thursday to facilitate the immediate delivery of large quantities of hay, feed, fencing materials, and other relief supplies to areas affected by wildfire. The executive order waives certain motor carrier regulations on trucks hauling livestock feed and fencing.

The declaration applies to motor carriers directly participating in relief efforts. It eliminates some weight restrictions on trucks and allows loads of hay up to 12’ wide and 14’ 6” tall.

“Even as we continue the fight to contain and defeat these fires, this executive order assists and expedites the arrival of recovery supplies as our communities begin to rebuild in the wake of these wildfires,” said Brownback.

While it’s still too early to assess how many cattle perished due to the wildfires in Kansas, the numbers could be upwards of 6,000 to 7,000, according to a veterinarian from Ashland, Kansas.

Ranchers in Phillips County, Colorado reported they lost 200 cattle in the wildfires. Authorities were still trying to determine cattle losses in Logan County.

In Oklahoma, Agriculture Secretary Jim Reese will view the devastation from the air today and release preliminary figures on the numbers of livestock lost, including a number of hogs at the Plum Thicket farm near Laverne.

“I know that many of my friends, neighbors and fellow cattlemen could use some help in recoveringfrom this devastating wildfire,” said Tom Fanning of May, Okla. who is currently serving as the Northwest District Vice President of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association (OCA), in a recent release. “In addition to the relief fund, hay donations would also be tremendously helpful.”

For more information on how to support our farming and ranching community in these states please visit: How to support our ag community.

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