Long Draw Fire Cools Down, Ranchers Search For Missing Cattle

Jul 17, 2012

Officials say the massive Long Draw fire in South East Oregon stopped actively burning over the weekend. The fire consumed more than 900 square miles of rangeland. Amelia Templeton reports, ranchers are searching for their cows.

The night the fire started, Jeanette Yturriondobeitia saddled a horse and rode out to meet the flames. She and her husband tried to drive their cattle to safety.

132 of the cows died. Now Yturriondobeitia is bringing water and painkillers to the surviving cattle.

Yturriondobeitia: “We’ve never experienced anything like this. I’ve never seen this. And people say to us we’ll lose more. If their feet are burned and their udders are burned they don’t have a chance.”

The Bureau of Land Management doesn’t yet have an estimate of how many cattle were killed in the fire. Federally managed rangeland that burned will be given two years to rest and recover. The agency says it is working with ranch families to find new places for them to graze.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio