WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Kansas communities are banding together to help each other after wildfires swept across the Plains this week. One Kansas woman found time to give back, even though the flames threatened her own home.
Some of the worst damage is around the Russell and Osborne county line, between Paradise and Natoma.
“We are having such a hard time processing the devastation,” Iva Maier said.
Maier is a Natoma resident. Her husband has been a firefighter in the area for more than 20 years.
“In his words, we have never seen any devastation like this,” she said.
The fire spread to their property Thursday afternoon. Maier said she is thankful so many crews came from all over to help.
“Our own crews are exhausted and tired and stretched out,” she said.
While battling blazes of her own, Maier is working to collect farm supplies for those who have it much worse.
“The cattle devastation is incredible,” she said, visibly emotional. “I know that there are still animals that will need taking care of.”
Donations can be dropped off at the 4-H building in Russell.
“People have been awesome in the community,” Maier said. “We have had people from hours away bringing stuff to us.”
Volunteers say they still need many donations for the wildfire victims. They need clothes, non-perishable 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.