A wildfire set 400,000 acres of pasture and farmland on fire earlier this week in Kansas and Oklahoma, and the fire still rages. Efforts are underway by industry groups to assist those livestock producers who are in need of help after the devastating Anderson Creek Fire.
The fire has taken numerous homes, outbuildings, miles of fence, thousands of hay bales and even some cattle, reports the Oklahoma Forestry Service. As of Saturday, the fire is at 36% containment and has burned 397,420 acres.
The bulk of the acreage affected has been in Barber Co., Kan. where approximately 273,000 acres have burned. The Anderson Creek Fire on the Kansas side marks the largest fire witnessed in state history.
According to the Kansas Livestock Association, an outpouring of support came from the agriculture community with many farmers and ranchers donating hay in the first few days. For the time being there have not been any more calls for hay, though there will likely be hay needed in the future once all the damage is fully assessed.
Another top priority is getting charitable donations to victims of the Anderson Creek Fire so they may purchase fencing supplies and take care of impacted livestock.
KLA is encouraging people to make monetary donations to the Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF). The KLF is the charitable arm of KLA.
Tax deductible checks can be made to the Kansas Livestock Foundation and write “Disaster Relief” in the memo line. Please send donations to 6031 S.W. 37th, Topeka, Kansas 66614.
In Oklahoma, a similar relief fund has been established by the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation (OCF) to help Woods Co. cattle producers impacted by the Anderson Creek Fire.
“We are coordinating with the Woods County Cattlemen’s Association and the Woods County Extension office to identify area ranchers in need,” says Jeff Jaronek, OCF Coordinator. The OCF is a charitable arm of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association.
Donations are being accepted via mail and can be sent to the OCF via P.O. Box 82395, Oklahoma City, OK 73148. Checks can be made payable to the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation and write “Fire Relief” in the memo line.
For those who wish to donate online, visit okcattlemen.org.
Back in Kansas, several members of KLA are donating proceeds from the sale of animals to KLF for disaster relief.
KLA President Elect David Clawson and Clawson Ranch Partnership have donated a heifer that will be sold March 31 at Pratt Livestock. The heifer will be re-sold numerous times and all proceeds will go towards KLF for the relief effort.
Additionally, KW Cattle Company plans to donate proceeds to KLF from the sale of an Angus bull. The bull, lot 21, will sell March 29 at the KW Cattle Company sale near Fort Scott.
Government assistance is available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) for those livestock producers who have been impacted. Livestock producers who have lost cattle, hay and forage from the wildfires should contact their local FSA office to see what programs are available.