Wildfires that roared across the Southern Plains in early March left nearly 2 million acres of pasture and rangeland scorched; thousands of head of cattle dead, injured or displaced; thousands of miles of fencing destroyed; some ranch facilities and homes destroyed (but not as many as could have been); and worse, at least seven lives lost.
The region, including parts of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, will be months, possibly years recovering. But that recovery is underway, thanks to timely spring rains. Aiding that effort even more, however, has been the tremendous outpouring of assistance from across the country. Hay, veterinary supplies, feed, wire, posts, bottled water and household goods began pouring in within hours of the blaze.
Those efforts continue. One unique opportunity for people to aid in this massive recovery effort comes from an unlikely source—the barbed wire burned and ruined by the intense heat of the fire. Folks have collected this damaged wire, rolled it into balls that resembles tumbleweeds, and distributed it to artisans who are crafting pieces of art from strips of burned wire. Artwork includes crosses, hearts, flowers and other pieces that may hang on walls, adorn porches, or add a unique element to yards and gardens. Some smaller “tumbleweeds” also serve as bases for lamps.
The artists are donating the proceeds from their work to various relief efforts for wildfire victims.
Above are photos of some barbed wire artworks. Anyone interested in purchasing a unique wall or yard ornament should contact the artists-- Shala Underwood https://www.facebook.com/shala.underwood?pnref=lhc.friends and Jimmy Zumwalt https://www.facebook.com/jimmy.zumwalt.5 on their Facebook pages. Also, check the 2017 Wildfire Relief Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/2017wildfirerelief/
To put the effort in perspective: Cost to replace he fences where this wire was collected will be about $10,000 per mile. Folks still need help.