Oklahoma ranchers step up to help those affected by Texas wildfires

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Thousands of cattle have died after more than a million acres burned in wildfires along the Texas-Oklahoma border.

Oklahoma ranchers saw the destruction and are stepping in to help in any way they can.

David Mattern and his wife Gail say this is the worst wildfire destruction they have seen in five years. Not only is it destroying everything ranchers have built, but because of the huge losses in cattle, they expect beef prices to skyrocket in the future.

“Everybody says, see something, say something; it’s see something, do something with our folks,” Mattern said. “We see a need out there and we just needed to do something.”

That’s the mantra David says ranchers live by, so he and his wife didn’t hesitate to help when they heard about the devastating wildfires killing cattle and destroying land.

“We’re taking down hay, round bales preferred, cattle cubes and some milk replacer for the baby calves that maybe lost their mom in the fire,” Mattern said.

Destruction spans miles, for what David says is one of the worst wildfires he has seen.

“This one is a big one,” Mattern said. “There’s over a million acres that have already burned up and it’s 37% contained. They haven’t had this much damage probably in five years, this is historic. It’s worse than five years combined right now and it’s still ongoing.”

One rancher in Texas says he is on the lucky side, only losing a couple hundred cows.

“You can lose it overnight, but we’ve been very fortunate that we’re only going to lose 200,” Chance Bowers, rancher said.

Thousands more are expected to be dead, which David says will have a huge impact on beef supply down the road.

“This is going to have far reaching effects down the road,” Mattern said. “The cattle business, you know, you can just drive to McDonald’s and figure that out in two seconds. But West Texas, that’s where they’re bred, that’s where they’re fed. And right now, that’s where they’re dying.”

NewsNation affiliate KFOR contacted the Department of Agriculture who confirmed they expect a steep rise in beef prices in the future, and depending on how wildfires go moving forward, it could get worse.

If you are interested in donating items to help, a list of what is needed and where you can donate is below.

Current livestock needs: cattle hay, alfalfa hay, fencing supplies, post hole diggers, any outdoor items, pig food, medical supplies, dry milk. 

Family needs: food items, toiletries, cleaning supplies, trash cans, and trash bags. Canadian is not in need of clothing donations, however Fritch, TX is in need. 

Donations can be made in-person at:
Texas A&M Agri Life Extension Office
10965 Exhibition Center Rd.
Canadian, TX 790014 

Round hay bale donations can be made to:
Canadian AH&N Ranch Supply
100 Hackberry Trail
Canadian, TX 79014
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Square bale donations can be made to:
10965 Exhibition Center Rd.
Canadian, Texas, 79014 

8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Cash donations for rancher wildlife relief can made to:
Canadian VFD  (501c3)
PO Box 300 
Canadian, Texas, 79014 
Please write memo for rancher wildfire relief. 

Family relief may be paid online donation to:
(501c3) First Baptist Church


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