Wildfires & Wind Ravage Cattle Ranches Throughout Kansas
Wildfires ravaged hundreds of thousands of acres in mid-December. The blaze that covered the largest area has been dubbed the Four County Fire, because it burned parts of Russell, Ellis, Osborne and Rooks counties.
This Four County Fire alone incinerated more than 190 square miles. That’s an area larger than the city of Wichita at 166.5 square miles.
This wasn’t the only wildfire that the wind storm sparked. In all, the Kansas Forest Service recorded 16 wildfires in western and central Kansas that day, burning more than 160,000 acres across 13 counties.
Kansas Cattlemen’s Association has fielded numerous inquiries from those wishing to help in the wildfire relief efforts, and is accepting monetary donations to help those affected by the fire. Visit www.kansascattlemen.com to donate online, or mail payments to Kansas Cattlemen’s Association, PO Box 1489, Junction City, KS 66441. Be sure to put Wildfire Relief in the memo.
Donations of hay and other agricultural supplies are being collected to help those who have been affected by the wildfires. The greatest need is hay and stockwater tanks, but fencing supplies will also be in need soon. Please deliver donations to:
Heartland Regional Stockyards
907 NW 3rd Street
Contact the auction market at 785-688-4080, Landon Schneider at 785-259-3234 or Brandon Hamel at 785-434-6280.
Russell County Fairgrounds
702 Fairway Dr.
Accepting hay and supply distributions. Call extension agent Marcia Geir at 785-483-3157 to arrange a dropoff.
LANE COUNTY / SURROUNDING COUNTIES:
3 E Rd 120
A supply donation site has been set up at 3 E Rd 120, Dighton, Kansas. To coordinate a drop-off, call Erik Steffens at 620-397-1687.
The following are the most current and pressing needs of the Russell community: Fencing supplies (barbed wire, electric wire, t-posts, etc.), feed for animals including but not limited to (cracked corn, all stock sweet feed, etc.), winter hats & gloves, Chapstick, phone chargers, clothes racks (to hang clothes from), non-drowsy allergy medication, first-aid supplies, Ibuprofen, and portable extended batteries.
These items were requested directly from the families impacted.
The significant losses resulting from these wildfires can be the cause of great trauma for the farmers and ranchers and their families. This is especially true for those who are facing death of livestock and other animals on their farms. KDA encourages anyone in need of support to reach out for help. Several options exist which can help.
KansasAgStress.org -- lists of many resources available to help, from mental health therapists (including telehealth options) to financial counseling.
High Plains Mental Health Center -- Serving the residents of Northwest Kansas with mental health services. To speak to a mental health professional right away, please call the 24/7 crisis hotline at (800) 432-0333. If you are not in crisis but would like to access mental health services, please call (785) 628-2871 during business hours.
Additional resources are also available on KCA’s webpage, as well as the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s website, www.agriculture.ks.gov.