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Local relief for fires in four states continues

The Thayer County Livestock Feeders collected hay and monetary donations for victims of the prairie fires in Kansas, which scorched over 650,000 acres in 21 counties, according to the Kansas Farm Bureau.
The fires began in early March. Homes, cattle, hay and pasture ground were destroyed.
Past president of the Feeders Association, Gregg Wiedel, said landowners are still in need and issued an ongoing call for donations.
The Feeders have collected $14,000 in cash and bales from people as far away as New Mexico, but many of the donations came from Nebraska residents, including Lexington to Arthur.
“People were calling me, wondering if we were doing something and people just sent checks,” Wiedel said.
Hay and fencing supplies were purchased with the donations and someone donated 32 hay bales as well.
Wiedel’s son-in-law, Dru Melvin, hauled supplies down to Ashland, Kan., an area heavily affected by the fires, which also raged in Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado.
Wiedel recalled a pallet of barbed wire being sent and a semi load of 940 fence posts.
A quarter mile of fence costs approximately $2,500 to $3,000, Wiedel said.
“There are people who lost miles and miles of fence. We sent down regular hedgeposts and crooked wood posts and had a guy donate fuel and time. Another guy took the wire and the company we bought the wood posts from took those for free,” Wiedel said.
He said the people down south were thankful.
“I mean they just couldn’t believe all the stuff that was coming in. It was coming in from Minnesota and Utah. It is amazing how this part of the country just pitches in when there is a disaster,” Wiedel said.
“It will be going on for quite a while,” Wiedel said about the recovery.
Clark County, Kan., suffered the most damage with 400,000 of its acres under fire. Colorado lost 30,000 acres and Texas, 325,000.
More information may be found on the Kansas Farm Bureau or Kansas Department of Agriculture websites.
Donations may be sent to Wiedel’s address at 5911 Road M, Hebron, NE  68370.
Thayer County Livestock Feeders may also be contacted via its Facebook page.

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