WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It has only been a week since a massive wildfire scorched thousands of acres, destroying the homes and livelihoods of many, and government officials said they are working on getting aid their way.
The Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Kansas Livestock Association already have feet on the ground helping many ranchers who suffered so much, including the loss of livestock.
The livestock losses are staggering, more than 1,500 were killed in the blaze, and now, a plan to ask the federal government for help is in the works.
“Some of those folks have lost their home, their buildings, their cow herd, part of their cow herd anyway, fencing, and I think we’re still just trying to comprehend it all,” said Mike Beam, the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
As government officials assess the damage of the ‘Four County Fire,’ volunteers and organizations continue to aid in recovery.
“There were a lot of people calling them saying hey, how can I help? I’ve got hay, fence materials; we can bring equipment there. We can bring trucks to help move stuff around. And of course, you know, they’re working with the families,” said Beam.
The Kansas Livestock Association said funds are coming into the Kansas Livestock Foundation.
“At this point, we have collected over $500,000 and which speaks to the generosity of so many people,” said Scarlett Hagins, the VP of communication for the Kansas Livestock Association.
That money will be given to the impacted farmers and ranchers.
Senator Jerry Moran said lawmakers are working on receiving aid from FEMA.
“The congressional delegation has drafted a letter to be prepared to be sent when the evaluation is complete, but already trying to raise awareness at FEMA in the office of the president,” said Senator Jerry Moran.
Senator Moran said in order for FEMA to help out, the state of Kansas has to exceed $4.8 million in losses to the public sector and that Governor Kelly has to make a request to President Biden before mid-January. Until that happens, Kansas Emergency Preparedness officials will be assessing the total damage.