Soda Fire Devastating Idaho Ranchers



Members of the KTVB news team revisited a ranch they featured in 2012 to see how the owners were affected by the enormous Soda Creek Fire.   Ed and Debby Wilsey, one of many area ranchers affected by the devastation of the Soda Creek Fire.   KTVB interviewed Ed, along with his insurance agent, both overwhelmed by the loss of both cattle and the range land that sustains them. 


“Well, we're pretty much burnt out. We've got a few meadows here. We're trying to get the last of the cows in, what we can find, and dispatch the burned ones the bad ones,” said Ed Wilsey, rancher. “You know these cows, you raise these cows, you know what they are for generations and you breed them how you want them, and when you got to go kill 'em it's, it was hard. I've got about 500 total head. I don't think we lost 50 percent, but I don't know I mean, I know how many we had to do away with, at least 30. It's like killin' your family. They're not just cows. I know we raise 'em to kill 'em and eat 'em but not to torture them to death like this deal did. It's a tough deal.”

While visiting the ranch, Wayne Hungate from Farm Bureau Insurance was on scene assessing the damage. KTVB's Sarton asked him, “What's the toughest part of this for you?”

“The emotions. Watching Ed. That's a big 'ol tough boy and sharing what they've gone through for 20 years, putting this together and listening to Ed say this is the toughest thing I've ever done in my life and to have to go through and shoot,” said Hungate. “It's a bitter sweet deal. Farm Bureau, we do our job, and they're good managers. We can't replace the life that they've shared making a living out here. The hay that's burned up, we have the money to replace that. The cattle that they lost, we have the money to buy new cattle and put the herd back together, but you can never replace the emotions and the things they've poured their life into. People think that we haven't lost structures, but we've lost a lot.”

CLICK HERE to read the full article 


Want to Help?

The Owyhee Cattlemen's Association is accepting donation for those affected by the Soda Fire in Owyhee and Malheur counties. The fire has burned over 283,600 acres and is currently reported to be over 90{62211894bbe3543ea27fa51e74e3ab79f2baeee0f4cbac9ff4b15b5bf1d81fd0} contained at this time.   Donations of other needed items such as hay, fencing, fence installation, trucking, etc. are also being accepted.  Owyhee Cattlemen's Association is planning to make a list available to ranchers as soon as the fire is out and they begin the difficult process of repairing and rebuilding. 

CLICK HERE for more information


Source:  KTVB and Owyhee Cattlemen's Association



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