Losses to wildfire tabulated; donations still needed to help ranchers, farmers

MEDICINE LODGE, Kansas (AP) – Agricultural officials are working at estimating losses from a wildfire that burned hundreds of square miles of sparsely populated land in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Kansas Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Heather Lansdowne says damage to livestock, fencing, water systems and stockpiled hay will be in the millions. The fire was mostly contained Wednesday, with crews monitoring for hot spots.

The Oklahoma Forestry Service says the state lost about 600 head of cattle and 1,000 round bales of hay. Lansdowne says efforts are underway to estimate cattle losses in the state. Kansas Livestock Association spokesman Todd Domer says some cattle are suffering from smoke inhalation.

In addition, the fire destroyed 16 homes in Oklahoma and Kansas.

As of Wednesday, the fire is 95% contained.

The association is collecting money for fence repairs. Lansdowne says thousands of miles of fencing have burned and that it will cost $11,000 per mile to replace.

Meanwhile, a western Kansas farmer and eight other people donated materials to those who need it most.

Last week, Paul Simon started a GoFundMe page to help those affected by the wildfire.

“The farming and ranching community is pretty tight nit,” said Simon. “You can see it. Everybody showing up, donating stuff and trying to help them get back to raising beef.”

In all, nine truckers donated 329 bales of hay in Coldwater. They also made stops in Medicine Lodge.

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