Drought and ongoing wildfires turned western Oklahoma into a governor-declared disaster zone by April 13. Ten days later, the still-blazing fires covered more than 349,000 acres.
Many rural Oklahomans have been affected by the wildfires that have ravaged the northwest part of the state. Farmers and ranchers are especially hit hard. Among the losses are cattle, homes, barns, fences and hay.
Jimmy and Ginger Emmons are among those affected by the Rhea fire, which had covered 283,095 acres, primarily in Dewey County, by April 18. Flames crossed about half of Emmons's acreage.
Emmons, who grows wheat, alfalfa and canola, and raises cattle, is one of more than 1,760 farmers who work with the Noble Research Institute. He has also been a leader in adopting soil-health-boosting practices like cover crops and no-till.
Bill Buckner, Noble Research Institute president and CEO, and Jim Johnson, soils and crops consultant, were in Dewey County over the weekend of April 14-15 to see first-hand some of the aftermath of the Rhea fire. Noble consultants will return when the fires have subsided to help manage grass recovery and develop plans for utilizing the grazing land that has been affected.
For the latest information on the wildfires, visit the Oklahoma Forestry Services Facebook page.
If you would like to contribute to rebuilding efforts, you can send donations to:
Make checks payable to Oklahoma Cattlemen's Foundation with "Fire Relief" in the memo line. Mail them to P.O. Box 82395, Oklahoma City, OK 73148.
Make checks payable to Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation with "Wildfire Relief" in the memo line. Mail them to 2501 N. Stiles, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.
Make checks payable to Farmers Union Foundation, Inc., with "Wildfire Relief" in the memo line. Mail them to the attention of Wildfire Relief at P.O. Box 24000, Oklahoma City, OK 73124.