Wildfire Recovery Reaches Dewey County Farmers

Monday, August 20th 2018, 11:18 pm

After thousands of acres were torched as wildfires destroyed Dewey County, federal relief is on the way.

Local USDA officials confirm $12.5 million has recently entered the county to help with repairs.

“We went through 800 farms, and they have applied for emergency conversation program,” USDA Farm Services Agency County Executive Director Michael Nichols said.

Over 1,000 acres, 76 homes and over 300 barns and other structures were burned in the historic fires.

Initial reports cited 1,100 cattle killed across the state.

“Learned a lot about how things can be gone in an hour. Things you worked all your life for,” Vici Producer Ken Salisbury said.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service was also providing $1.8 million in relief.

Miles of fencing had to be torn down, or completely rebuilt.

“Almost 50 percent of this county burned. Lot of ranch land, still useable, but it needs a rest because we are still in a drought,” District Conservationist Paul Clark of the NRCS said.

Skeleton trees line highways and backroads.

Homes have been reduced to rubble, and the region’s drought has kept many from moving forward.

“We lost one landlords house. We lost an equipment shed and some equipment. We lost a few cows,” said Jimmy Emmons, a Leedey Farmer.

“Lost several cattle, and we are trying to get fence built back,” said Roger Moore, a Taloga Farmer.

Moore says he lost about 1,500 acres in the fire.

He and many others say they knew someone was watching over them, and that’s giving them hope to continue on the farm.

“It doesn’t do much good to look at the bad side of things. You don't gain much from that,” Salisbury said.

Some farmers add, they are still experiencing a drought.

While they pray for rain, they are also counting on support from their neighbors.

Read Also: Rhea Fire Rages Across Dewey County