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KS Wildfires Under Control, Search On For Missing Cattle

Sean Sandefur

Now that the wildfires in south-central Kansas have largely been brought under control, the search is on for missing cattle. The animals scattered in all directions when grass fires burned down hundreds of miles of fencing.

Gaten Wood, Barber County attorney and spokesman for emergency operations in Medicine Lodge, says they have not yet calculated the total number of livestock lost to the fire, but that reports say as many as 150 cattle have been lost.

"We have cowboys in the area that are out on horseback looking for calves or cows that are unaccounted for, and it's pretty treacherous terrain out there," Wood says. "Our local cowboys know the area, but we aren't turning away help."

Wood says so far, the cost of fighting the wildfire just in Barber County has reached $1 million. Comanche, Harvey and Reno Counties were also affected by the wildfires.

J. Schafer is the News Director of Kansas Public Radio at the Univeristy of Kansas. He’s also the Managing Editor of the Kansas Public Radio Network, which provides news and information to other public radio stations in Kansas and Missouri. Before joining KPR in 1995, Schafer spent 10 years as a commercial radio and TV newsman. During his career, he's filed stories for nearly every major radio news network in the nation including ABC, NBC, CBS, AP, UPI, the Mutual Broadcasting System, NPR and the BBC. This seems to impress no one. At KPR, he produces feature stories, interviews and newscast items and edits the work of others. In the fall of 2000, he performed contract work for the U.S. State Department, traveling to central Asia to teach broadcast journalism at newly independent radio stations in the former Soviet Union. One of his passions is Kansas; learning about and promoting the state’s rich heritage, people and accomplishments. Schafer gives presentations about Kansas to various organizations around the state to remind residents about our awesome history and incredible people. A native of Great Bend, he studied journalism and mass communications at Barton County Community College and at the University of Kansas. He was also an exchange student to Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany. The “J.” in J. Schafer stands for Jeremy, but he doesn’t really care for that name. He also enjoys the pretentiousness of using just a single initial for a first name!