Wildfires are once again blazing their way through parts of western Oklahoma, and as usual the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service is performing a central role in organizing livestock-related relief efforts.
“Firefighters are still battling wildfires in areas of the state, so relief organization is in the early stages,” said Dana Bay, Woodward County Extension agricultural educator, who is coordinating regional efforts with her fellow Extension professionals in Dewey, Custer, Roger Mills and Woodward counties. “We are working with the State Department of Emergency Management, and are ready and willing to assist however we can.”
Lists of people in need of post-wildfire assistance and others wishing to render aid are being compiled now, and will continue to be for weeks to come. To get on a list, contact 405-590-0106.
In terms of collecting and disseminating livestock-related products, Oklahoma State University 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,” Bay said.
As of this writing, more than 200,000 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.