People of Northwest Public Radio
Mon August 20, 2012
Southeast Oregon Fires Displace 20,000 Cattle
Firefighters have mostly contained the Holloway fire, a massive blaze on the Oregon-Nevada border. But Amelia Templeton of Earthfix reports there is still no clear solution for the cattle left homeless by Oregon’s summer fires.
The Holloway fire and the Long Draw Fire left 20,000 cattle displaced across southeastern Oregon. Finding new pasture for them has proved tricky.
Private conservation lands along the Columbia river have been opened up for emergency grazing, but only for 60 days at a time. Curtis Martin is with the Oregon Cattleman’s Association. He says trucking cattle hundreds of miles to graze is expensive. Ranchers need access to the emergency grazing land for 4 to 6 months.
Martin: “If we cannot find and get some real relief for these folks, there’s the real possibility they will vanish from the landscape. And we’re taking about generational landscape.”
The Cattleman’s Association has asked the governor and the federal agriculture department to look for other solutions.