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Clark County Ranchers Face Livestock Losses Due To Wildfires

Pat Roberts
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts tours the damage caused by last week's wildfire.

Clark County ranchers are beginning to assess their financial and livestock losses due to last week’s grass fires.

Clark County shares a border with Oklahoma.

The Ashland area is home to many family ranches that go back several generations, as well as some large commercial ranches, including the 21,000 acre Gardiner Angus Ranch.

Randall Spare of the Ashland Veterinary Clinic and his team have been helping ranchers dispose of cattle killed by the fire last week.

Spare says more than 3000 cattle have been lost in Clark County, and the number could grow.

He says the vets will be re-evaluating the surviving cows in the coming weeks to make sure they are okay or decide if any needs to be euthanized.

The value of a cow ranges from $1,800 up to more $8000.

Many ranchers also face extensive losses of fence and graze land.

A multi-agency disaster relief center will be open at Ashland High School to help people affected by the wildfires. The center will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

It’s a one-stop clearinghouse to help people create personal recovery plans, navigate paperwork and locate assistance for specific needs such as housing, groceries or clean up support.

The grass fires in Clark, Comanche, Ellis and Rook counties are mostly contained, and the state demobilized its response teams over the weekend.

The Kansas National Guard partnered with U.S. Army Reserve and civilian aviation teams helped firefighting efforts from the air by dropping water on the fires.

The National Guard says it dropped about 289,000 gallons of water during its support mission last week.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management says the fires burned more than 700,000 acres of land, setting the record for the most widespread single fire in Kansas history.

The Kansas Livestock Association is working with private donors to provide hay for cattle in counties that suffered an extensive loss of grazing lands and baled hay.

Reno County officials said the grassfires near Hutchinson were 100 percent contained Friday night.

The fires burned more than 5400 acres of land and forced dozens of people to evacuate from their homes for a brief period last week.

The fire department says there were two injuries reported. The grass fire near the Highlands neighborhood destroyed 10 homes. There are reports of other outbuildings, vehicles and farm equipment also destroyed by the fires.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, Sen. Jerry Moran and Major General Lee Tafanelli, KS adjutant general, met with the Clark County emergency response team Sunday. Sen. Pat Roberts visited the Englewood, Kansas area on Friday.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar

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