Volunteers give up spring break to help Clark County wildfire victims

Volunteers help Clark County ranchers and farmers restore fencing to their scorched land. (Photo: KSN/Santiago Kahn)

ASHLAND, Kan. (KSNW) – About 70 volunteers from across the country have come to Ashland in southern Kansas to help victims of recent wildfires recover from the disaster. Many of them gave up their spring break to help out.

The volunteers are bunking in at an Ashland church camp where they’re also being fed three meals a day through the weekend.

Those who came to help are being sent out to farms and ranches where they’re helping clear out burned and broken barbed-wire fences.

“It has been overwhelming to say the least, but it just completely consumes you with gratitude for everybody’s help, because it’s needed,” said Kelly McCarty, an Ashland resident.

Catherine Dunn is a junior at Kansas State University who’s spending her spring break in Ashland to help fire victims.

“I had heard of the devastation out here and I just know like it’s their livelihood when these cattle are being burned and the land, and so I thought I’d lend a hand,” Dunn said.

Like Dunn, many of the volunteers are students and teachers who are on spring break. Some of them came from as far away as California to help out.

Rancher Bill Barby says he and other farmers and ranchers in the area are grateful for the help.

“Honestly, I had no idea that there was going to be this many people,” said Barby. “I just knew our little group from K-State was coming, and when I saw the list I was like, wow. It even made me realize even more how big of a like a, how much is needed.”

Volunteer coordinators say Ashland will never be able to repay all the help they’ve been getting, but they promise to pay it forward.

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