Kansas community previously devastated by fires helps out those currently struggling

Local

ASHLAND, Kan. (KSNW) — New information about just how destructive the recent windstorm and wildfires in Kansas were revealed more than $2.3 million worth of damage.

The Kansas Forest Service said around 163,000 acres burned on Dec. 15.

Midwest Energy said 700 power poles were destroyed and that they have replaced 400 of them in just two weeks. A spokesperson said it will be at least another month before the system is fully repaired.

While companies work to rebuild infrastructure, farmers and ranchers are rebuilding their lives.

They are getting some much-needed help from their fellow Kansans.

“We understand, and we have a sense of what they’re going through, and I think that’s why people are so interested in helping. It’s a horrible situation to lose your livestock and your homes. And, you know, it’s just devastating,” said Bill Shaw, the president of the Ashland Community Foundation.

In March 2017, Ashland was in similar shoes to those devastated by the fires on Dec. 15.

“We had our bad fire here that burned 80% of our county,” said Shaw.

Several community members have volunteered to help recent fire victims hoping to lend a hand as others did for them.

“People down there learned a lot of valuable lessons and are just incredible people,” said Quentin Maupin, from Paradise.

Just last week, Maupin, who lost more than 200 cattle, said he was grateful for the support.

“Huge hearts that people in Kansas have, and anytime there is a disaster like this, people step up and volunteer,” said Maupin.

The community of Ashland did not qualify for FEMA assistance.

“It requires about $4.8 million in the losses of public property, not private property. So in our instance, where we’re scarcely populated, we really had very little public,” said Shaw.

Shaw said they knew just how important financial assistance was in their recovery.

“They’ll need money for all kinds of expenses. You know, starting with just taking care of their livestock that survived. They’ll have feed bills feeds very high right now,” said Shaw.

The Ashland Community Foundation has formed the Ashland Community Foundation Kansas Wildfire relief matching fund. The president said they had raised $20,000, which will be matched. Donations can be mailed directly to the Ashland Community Foundation, P.O. Box 276, Ashland, Kansas 67831. They ask that you please be sure to memo your donation “fire relief.”

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