Affected Ranchers Asked to Contact Extension Office
Hay Donation Supply Points (new one added for Hemphill County)
Hay Transport Permit
STAR Fund Donations
Wildfire Waste and Carcass Disposal
Drones Slow Firefighting Response
Ranchers who have been affected by the wildfires burning in the Panhandle are asked to contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office in their county and leave their name, location of their ranches and the estimated number of cattle that have been lost or displaced by the fire.
|AgriLife Extension Office||Phone Number|
|Gray County (Pampa)||806-669-8033|
|Hemphill County (Canadian)||806-323-9114|
|Lipscomb County (Lipscomb)||806-862-4601|
|Ochiltree County (Perryton)||806-435-4501|
|Roberts County (Miami)||806-868-3191|
|Wheeler County (Wheeler)||806-826-5243|
Multiple fires in the Texas Panhandle have burned more than a million acres in recent days. As part of a coordinated response with multiple state agencies and emergency managers, TSCRA has been asked to solicit hay donations from local members.
Area supply points have been established to collect donated hay. Each has been listed below. If you have hay that you can donate and transport to either supply point, please contact the location directly.
Supply Point 1 (Lipscomb County)
Lipscomb County Fairgrounds
202 West Main
Contact: J.R. Sprague, AgriLife Extension County Extension Agent
Supply Point 2 (Gray County)
Clyde Carruth Pavillion
301 Ball Park Drive
Contact: Mike Jeffcoat, AgriLife Extension County Agent
Supply Point 3 (Hemphill County)
100 Hackberrry Trail
Canadian, TX 79011
Contact: Andy Hollowa, AgriLife Extension County Extension Agent
Texans urged to donate to STAR Fund for Panhandle wildfire relief
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has joined Texans everywhere in offering prayers and support for our neighbors in the Panhandle who have been affected by wildfires. The fires have had a devastating effect on farmers, ranchers and livestock.
“This is an awful natural disaster, and so many of our friends have lost livestock, feed, equipment, homes, and in some very sad cases, even their lives,” Miller said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those families, and here at the Texas Department of Agriculture, we are doing all we can to help those who’ve been affected by this disaster. I’d like to personally express my condolences to the families who have lost loved ones. Your friends and neighbors in agriculture are praying for you.”
For those interested in showing their support for farmers and ranchers affected by disasters like this one, Miller is encouraging Texans across the state to donate to the State of Texas Agriculture Relief (STAR) Fund. Managed by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), the STAR Fund provides emergency assistance to Texas farmers and ranchers affected by disasters like wildfires. Funded exclusively by private donations, STAR funds are often used to rebuild fences vital to livestock businesses, restore operations and pay for other agricultural disaster relief.
More information on the TDA’s STAR Fund program can be found here.
In addition to the privately-funded STAR program, TDA also administers the Disaster Relief and Urgent Need Fund. Federally funded through the Texas Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the disaster relief fund provides grant assistance to eligible communities to help alleviate the effects of natural disasters such as flooding or wildfires through debris removal, infrastructure repairs and other improvements. General information on the Disaster Relief and Urgent Need Fund, including specific agency contacts, can be found here.
TDA also oversees the Hay Hotline to facilitate buying or selling hay statewide. Those interested in making a hay donation for disaster relief can go here for more information.
Oversize Hay Transportation Permit
TxDMV issues an annual permit to transport cylindrical (round) bales of hay. The permit allows the bales to be loaded side-by-side up to 12 feet wide to travel on all state-maintained highways in Texas. All other dimensions and weight must be legal.
This permit is an annual permit that expires one year from the effective date. Complete the form online, pay the $10.00 and print out the permit to carry in the cab of the truck.
If drivers can’t complete the online process, they can go to a DVM office and they can assist and wither email or fax the permit.
Disposing of Wildfire Waste and Carcasses
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality offers a webpage of information for disposal of wildfire waste and/or carcasses at https://www.tceq.texas.gov/response/wildfires/wildfires.
- Disposing of Animal Carcasses —This brief guide focuses on the best options available after a wildfire.
- Affidavit for Animal Carcass Burial —The “Form Affidavit,” this form can be used to document the location of the burial for deed recordation and other purposes.
Cleaning up Debris
Remember, some of the debris produced by a wildfire could be recyclable. Follow these guidelines to separate debris according to type and dispose of it properly:
- Managing Debris from Texas Wildfires
- Request for Approval of Temporary Debris Management Site —This form is used by local authorities to ask for permission to set up debris-collection stations.
The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association reports that a Fire Relief Fund has been set up through the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation for Beaver, Ellis, Harper & Woodward County Cattlemen. Click to learn more or click here to donate.
If you would like to donate hay or trucking services for hay, you can do so by contacting either the Harper County Extension Office at 580-735-2252, Buffalo Feeders at 580-727-5530 or Western Equipment at 580-254-0080 to make arrangements or provide trucking services.
Drones slow wildfire response and firefighting aircraft
As officials at Texas A&M Forest Service are responding to an increase in wildfire frequency across the state, two Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATS) responding to a wildfire in Erath County were grounded due to the presence of a drone in the wildfire perimeter.
Flying a drone near a wildfire creates a serious safety hazard for firefighters and halts the assistance of any firefighting aircraft.
“The first SEAT had already dropped retardant on the fire and the second SEAT was lined up to follow and complete the drop when the drone appeared directly in their path,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Public Information Officer Erin O’Connor.
Drones of any size can cause a serious or fatal accident if they collide with firefighting aircraft. Furthermore, pilots have no way to detect drones other than by seeing them. For those reasons – if drones are reported near a Texas wildfire, firefighting aircraft will be grounded or sent to a different location immediately. This can result in wildfires becoming larger and leaves firefighters and dozer operators on the ground with no option to use retardant drops from aircraft as a suppression tool. Retardant drops are used to cool flames for faster control by firefighters and to provide direct protection of homes and other structures.
“While UAS or drones are fun to fly, they pose a direct threat to pilot safety on wildfires. If you fly, we can’t. Which means potentially more threat to lives and property,” said Program Coordinator Shawn Whitley. “If you see someone using a drone in the area of a wildfire, please contact your local law enforcement department.”
For more information on Texas A&M Forest Service wildfire response, visit the Texas Interagency Coordination Center website or the Texas A&M Forest Service Current Situation page.