At last count, the Kansas Adjutant General's Department reported that the
But while total estimates on fire damages and costs to producers are still undetermined, losses of cattle and farm infrastructure in the recent fires have left telltale signs of the widespread devastation.
Agricultural organizations statewide are rallying to assist farmers and landowners in need. In
The event follows a similar meeting that was held Sunday in
Area schools are participating in the effort.
But more than anything, residents can help first and foremost by using caution and avoiding hazardous activities that may cause or exacerbate another fire.
"At this point, we're just assisting survivors and keeping an eye out for the fact that there's still a pretty high fire danger out West," Horner said.
Taldo reported that strong winds have protracted
Still, Taldo said the relief efforts in
"The wind erosion is being taken care of, and I think they're getting some hay donations," Taldo said. "We've still had a few more spot fires out in that area, but we've had a couple fires elsewhere in the county."
Even though the fire that started
Crops played an interesting role in the fire's spread.
Because spring crops haven't been planted in most parts of the state, the only crop truly affected by the fires was winter wheat planted in September, said
While approximately 50 livestock, mostly cattle, were killed in
Flickner said many producers that had time to prepare for the encroaching flames moved their livestock onto the green wheat cropland to improve their chances of survival.
Farmers and ranchers also stand to lose a significant amount of money in fencing replacement. Flickner said it costs approximately
"It will certainly take years to rebuild what the fire destroyed in just a matter of hours," he said.
But farmers may receive legislative relief. The
"We heard hay and feed for quite a while," Lansdowne said. "We heard milk for a while, but we've heard really good results. About every time we say there's a great need, somebody fixes it. I think rebuilding is going to be a significant need for the folks who have lost homes and fences. ... The rebuilding process is going to be significant."
Lansdowne said the KDA's focus has been on recovery, assistance and the expedition of federal assistance to those who need it.
"I think about the resiliency of the land and the cattle and the people," Domer said. "We knew the people were tough, and we knew they were resilient down deep, but you don't always know that about how long it's going to take the land to recover, the grass to recover, and how those surviving cattle are going to be in terms of productivity."
Even cattle that didn't die in the fires were and are, in many cases, too traumatized and injured to move comfortably back into the production cycle.
"We're a four-man practice, and we've had multiple veterinarians from K-State and other private practice that have come and helped us," he said. "We've been on pretty much every ranch that had loss ..."
Kellenberger explained that cows with burned utters are in too much pain to let their calves nurse, cows have gone blind due to smoke irritation, and some of the animals have succumbed to "severe lameness" from burned hooves.
Evaluated animals are being euthanized in cases of extremity, when they are "suffering beyond repair," Kellenberger said.
"Devastating is the word that covers it all," he said. "The ranchers that were affected were 100 percent affected, and I have had ranging from low to minimal death loss to an upside of 80 percent death loss."
Kellenberger said the outpouring of assistance from livestock associations, other ranchers and "people that have nothing to do with agriculture" has been wonderful.
"We have hay, we have fencing supplies, we have food, we have bottled water," he said. "Everything is being poured into this community, and not everybody will get thanked."
Others hoping to contribute to the relief efforts can:
--For more information on localized donations, contact the Kansas Rural Center at (866) 579-5469, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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