cotton-field-training-web Photo by Todd Johnson
A farmer hurries to create a firebreak not only to protect his own property but also nearby homes in Seiling as Dewey County flames rage on.

OSU Extension adds new contact numbers to wildfire recovery assistance

OSU Cooperative Extension is charged with collecting and disseminating items such as hay, supplemental livestock feed, milk replacer for calves that lost their mothers and fencing supplies to restore boundaries and protect wandering animals.

New Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service phone numbers have been added for producers seeking or those wishing to donate agricultural supplies and services as part of the wildfire recovery efforts.

Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension is working closely with the State Office of Emergency Management and taking the lead in organizing agricultural-related relief efforts for Dewey, Custer, Roger Mills and Woodward counties.

Dee Cooper, OSU Cooperative Extension director for the state’s Western District, said two more phone numbers were added on April 14 by which producers and others can contact Extension coordinators regarding agricultural-related needs and donations. The phone numbers are: 405-496-9329 and 405-397-7912, joining the initial phone number contact of 405-590-0106 released to the public on Friday, April 13.

“Our intent is to help things move along as speedily as possible given the urgent needs many people will have, so call any of the three numbers,” Cooper said. “It’s never easy but the good-neighbor policy is always in evidence when disasters hit Oklahoma, both by the professionals and many kind-hearted volunteers.”

In terms of collecting and disseminating agricultural-related products, OSU Cooperative Extension is in charge of items such as hay, supplemental livestock feed, milk replacer for calves that lost their mothers and fencing supplies to restore boundaries and protect wandering animals.

Monetary donations for agricultural enterprises are being handled by the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Foundation.

“Extension is not handling any money, but we will be matching up people who want to donate their time and effort with producers needing help to rebuild fences, transport hay and similar farm and ranch activities,” said Dana Bay, Woodward County Extension agricultural educator.

As of this writing, it is estimated more than 366,000 acres have burned across the state since April 12, including expansive fires in Woodward and Dewey counties that prompted numerous evacuations.

Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for 52 counties on April 13. Under the governor’s executive order, state agencies may make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions.

For those personally affected, rebuilding and recovery begin almost immediately after the wildfires have been extinguished. Educational resources detailing everything from the proper ways to dispose of dead livestock to post-wildfire home cleanup and post-disaster safety are available through each OSU Cooperative Extension county office, and online at http://www.oces.okstate.edu.

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