RUSSELL COUNTY, Kan (KSNW) — Days after the windstorm and fires hit Russell County, many people are still recovering from the devastation.
Members of the community say the past few days have been a whirlwind. Many are still processing losing their home and belongings. One community member says that many farmers that she knows have lost everything.
“I’m hanging in there,” said Brynae Thompson. “I’m trying to be strong for my family, and I got to, you know, step up to the plate.”
Brynae Thompson said when she woke up on Wednesday, she had a bad feeling about the day hours later. It was worse than she could have imagined.
“My dad had taken off to help go fight a fire, and I got a call from him that he was trapped, so I figured out where he was, and my mom and I started going toward him, and there was just fire all around us we couldn’t get to him,” said Thompson.
A family friend was able to rescue him. He was then sent to the Russell hospital and transferred to a burn unit in Wichita. He was released Thursday but has lost some of his vision due to the burns.
“We are hoping for a full recovery with rest,” said Thompson.
Thompson said her parent’s home is gone, and they continue to assess their cattle.
“Cattle that you know we love you know our pets it’s heartbreaking when you can’t save the things that you love,” said Thompson.
“Going into it, the pastures were very poor, and now there is nothing,” said Iva Maier, who lives in Natoma.
The same community was impacted just months prior with flooding.
“I never thought we would go from flood, to drought, then taken away by fire, it’s just, it’s devastating, It’s crazy, It’s sad. I know God doesn’t give us any more than what we can handle, but it sure feels like a lot right now,” said Thompson.
Thompson said the support from the community meant everything to her, and she says she cannot thank people for their help enough.
Volunteers said they still need many donations for the victims as it’s going to take a while for insurance and permanent solutions to be accessible. They need clothes, nonperishable foods, fencing equipment, hay and animal feed, water, snacks, health products, baby products, and toys.
The Emergency Conservation Program helps farmers and ranchers to repair damage to farmlands caused by natural disasters and to help put in place methods for water conservation during severe drought. The ECP does this by giving ranchers and farmers funding and assistance to repair the damaged farmland or to install methods for water conservation.
USDA Service Centers are designed to be a single location where farmers and others can access the services provided by the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Rural Development agencies.