Ranchers struggle to survive wildfiresby Hugh Holub on Jun. 07, 2011, under environment water and energy, politics
As the Murphy and Horseshoe 2 fires run out of countryside to burn, the recovery is already starting.
What has not been reported in the urban media is the devastating impact the fires have had on southern Arizona’s ranching community.
One rancher in Santa Cruz County had lost 13,000 acres of his grazing lands so far between 2 fires…and the damage is not over. Other Santa Cruz ranchers lost closer to 100% of their grazing lands.
There is a long list of ranchers over in Cochise County on the east side of the Chiricahua Mountains that also lost all or major portions of their grazing lands in the Horseshoe 2 fire.
The first order of business in the ranchlands was to get the cattle out of harm’s way as the fires raged across the countryside. As far as I’ve heard this was pretty successful.
But now the grass is gone and there won’t be any feed available on the range until August at best.
There is hardly anywhere the cows can go because there are strict limits on federal and state grazing allotments, so you cannot just move your cows to a neighbor’s pasture even if the neighbor is willing.
Right now there is a hay supply program starting for the Wallow Fire ranch victims.
To donate to the hay fund for the Wallow Fire ranchers please use the Gila Livestock Growers Assn. storefront
Donation link: http://gilaranchers.fatcow.com/store/page3.html Click the bottom link to donate the title is (Donate To Keep Up This Website) but you will type in hay fund instead.
For more up to date information on the Wallow Fire and it’s impacts go to http://www.glenwoodgazette.com/
Expect similar efforts in the next few days for Cochise and Santa Cruz county ranches.
With Governor Jan Brewer’s Declaration of a State of Emergency for the Wallow Fire in Apache and Greenlee counties starts the process for a FEMA disaster declaration and opens the door to FEMA sssistance.
Governor Jan Brewer Issues State of Emergency Declaration
Activates State Emergency Operations Center to Further Coordinate State Response Efforts
PHOENIX – Governor Jan Brewer today signed a Declaration of Emergency in response to the wildfires raging in Apache and Greenlee Counties. This declaration releases $200,000 from the Governor’s Emergency Funds (via the State General Fund) to pay for emergency responses and recovery expenses for damage resulting from the fires.
The funding will support costs not covered by the federal fire management assistance grant, as well as recovery efforts following suppression of the fire. The Governor’s Emergency Declaration also authorizes the Adjutant General to mobilize the Arizona National Guard as necessary to protect life and property.
In addition, the Governor has called for activation of the State Emergency Operations Center, as of 8 a.m. Tuesday. The State Emergency Operations Center provides coordination and direction for all state emergency response activities to assist in the protection of life and property within Arizona. The State Emergency Operations Center, located at the Papago Park Military Reservation, 5636 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, is under the direction of Lou Trammell, Director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management.
Governor Brewer is authorized under state statute to declare a state of emergency. The declaration directs the following actions:
a. Declare that a State of Emergency exists in Apache and Greenlee Counties due to the Wallow Fire, effective May 29, 2011 and continuing; and
b. Direct that the sum of $200,000 from the general fund be made available to the Director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management to be expended in accordance with A.R.S. §35-192, A.A.C. R8-2-301 to 321, and Executive Order 79-4; and
c. Direct that the State of Arizona Emergency Response and Recovery Plan be used to direct and control state and other assets and authorize the Director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management to coordinate state assets; and
d. Authorize the Adjutant General to mobilize and call to activate all or such part of the Arizona National Guard as is determined necessary to assist in the protection of life and property throughout the State.
To date, all costs associated with response to the Wallow Fire are being supported by the federal fire management assistance grant. Visit the Arizona Emergency Information Network website, www.azein.gov, for real-time incident updates, preparedness and hazard information and multimedia resources.
Ranchers in Cochise and Santa Cruz county are praying for rain and for Givernor Brewer to also declare a disaster emergency in those counties.
An interesting thing about a “disaster”……when bad stuff happens like tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires…. a city, county or group of counties, the state and the feds themselves can declare a “natural disaster” and get FEMA and other federal assistance, including getting reimbursed for local costs to deal with the disaster. FEMA assistance can include loans to rebuild.
This is a complicated process, including being able to qualify with sufficient financial damage, which sould not be an issue here.
Most jurisdictions have “emergency response plans” and know the drill. You can bet the fire damaged counties in Arizona are busy looking at this stuff.
So far no one has been killed and building damage is minimal.
But it will be a long time before the ranches recover.
Meanwhile we are all already noticing a lot of wildlife that fled the fires and has come down out of the mounatins. Lord only knows how much wildlife was lost in the fires.
News from the rangelands (emails):
Murphy Fire: “…the Murphy fire entirely consumed our son’s allotment (the Murphy allotment that formerly belonged to the Cummings) and burned all of ours down to the natural gas line. We had some anxious moments yesterday afteroon and even packed up some belongings, but I have now moved most of them back into the house from my car! The plan is for the fire to go on its way south along the gas line at least to the Ruby Rd. We hear it has crossed over the ridge at the top of our Ramanote allotment into Bear Valley.
“From now on it will be easy to tell who has been walking through this popular gateway to the U.S because they will be all covered with black smudges!
“Looks like your fire is burning further south, up top now and on the west side?, will it get into Rucker, Glenn’s, 99Bar, or into Boss’s and Husted’s? This is pathetic! Border fires burned out a lot of Bell’s and his neighbors (west of Nogales), most of dela Ossa’s (Lochiel, S. of Patagonia), and Parker Canyon, Bursich’s and Lone Mountain Ranch in the San Rafael Valley and foothills on west side of the Huachucas, besides those above/in Guadalupe Canyon and in the Animas Valley, and who knows where else. After the last two big fires in the Huachucas, all but one small grazing permit on the East side of the mountain were “permanently retired” from grazing, and the last one was told his permit will never be transferred if he wants to sell it. Coronado, Ash Canyon, Baumkircheners, Sump Canyon, Carr Canyon, Ramsey Canyon, and Brown Canyon permits are now all permanently closed to grazing, all were clients of mine at one time, only Gregovich’s (Miller Canyon and Nicksville) is left. The only thing the ranch owners could do was sell their deeded “base property”. Now all the canyons are full of fancy homes, the ranch owners were lucky they were near Sierra Vista or their property wouldn’t have been worth much. “