As wildfires are spreading across south-central Nebraska, we are here to help our cattle community by providing you with the most up-to-date resources and ways you can help.

For those interested in donating to the Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund click the button below.

WAYS TO HELP
MONETARY DONATIONS: 

We are forever indebted to our brave first responders who make unmatched sacrifices to protect our communities. Our prayers go out to Elwood Volunteer Fire Department chief, Darren Krull’s family as he lost his life in a car accident while trying to protect those around him from the ongoing wildfires. To donate you can make a check out to the Darren Krull family or Cheryl Krull and mail it to:

Elwood Volunteer Fire Department
PO Box 306
Elwood, NE 68937
The Elwood Fire Department will hand-deliver all donations to the Krull family.

Firefighter Justin Norris was also badly injured in the car accident while assisting with the fires. If you would like to help the Norris family you can call First Tier Bank in Holdrege at (308) 995-9595 to donate to the family’s benefit account. You can also directly give to the family through their Venmo account: @justinannienorris.

Farnam Firefighter Travis Metzler was injured while fighting the Gosper/Furnas County fir (739 Fire). You can support Travis and his family by making a check out to “Farnam Fire Benefit” and mailing it to:

Farnam Village Clerk
PO Box 7
Farnam NE 69029

For Gosper County disaster relief, the point of contact is the Elwood Area Foundation. The Elwood Area Foundation is encouraging people to donate online using the link below, and the funds will go straight to the Elwood Area Foundation disaster relief fund. Thrivent is matching a portion of these funds.

Nebraska Cattlemen Sandhills Affiliate (NCSA)

NCSA is accepting financial donations which can be mailed to:

NCSA
40970 W North Loup River Rd.
Purdum, NE 69157

Questions about donating to NCSA can be directed to Kat Kennedy at (308) 645-7036.

Furnas County Livestock Association 

The Furnas County Livestock Association is accepting financial donations which can be mailed to:

Furnas County Livestock Association
42698 Hwy 89
Beaver City, NE 68926

The following banks are taking donations:
First Central Bank- Donations may be taken to the Cambridge, Arapahoe, Edison, McCook, and Curtis locations. It should be specified that the funds are for the Disaster Relief Fund.
Pinnacle Bank- Lexington: (308) 324-6920
Pinnacle Bank- Elwood: (308) 785-2280
Security First Bank- Elwood: (308) 785-3366

The Lexington Livestock Market is a hub for donating items (hay, feed, supplies). They are seeking volunteers to assist with building fences, making deliveries, etc. People affected by the fires who need supplies or volunteers can also contact Lexington Livestock Market.

Lexington Livestock Market Office phone: (308) 324-4663

SUPPLY DONATIONS:

ACCEPTING FENCING SUPPLIES

Our Sandhills Affiliate is asking for help with disaster relief for local ranchers who lost miles of fence, trees, and livestock in the recent fires. You can donate fencing supplies, such as post, wire, and staples to:

Harsh Mercantile
84453 Purdum Rd
Purdum, NE 69157

Questions about donating fence supplies to Harsh Mercantile can be directed to Mike Moody at (308) 834-3251.

Bartley Fire Hall
101 W Walnut St.
Bartley, NE 69020

ACCEPTING FEED AND HAY
O’Dea Farms

39106 Rd 718
McCook, NE 69001-7919
POC: Call John O’Dea at (308) 340-1140 to unload.
More ways to help will continue to be added to this page. 

WILDFIRE RESOURCES

Mental Health 

Mental Health is crucial in tough times. We are here to help you! We have resources to help you through the good and bad times.

Rural Wellness is here

Rural Hotline is here

Communicating with farmers under stress with Susan Harris, watch here.

Veterinarian Assistance in Red Willow and Furnas Counties 

Dr. Joe Gillespie: (308) 350-3834

Red Willow Animal Clinic:  (308) 345-4143

Fourwinds Animal Clinic: (308) 345-3270

River View Veterinary Service: (308) 737-9007

For More Information on Road 702 Fire from NEMA: 

Fire Information Phone: (402) 327-1511

Fire email: 2022.nebraskaspring@firenet.gov

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nema.page

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NEMAtweets

Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8081/

USDA Offers Disaster Assistance to Nebraska Farmers and Livestock Producers Impacted by Drought and Wildfires

The following information was released by the United States Department of Agriculture on April 20, 2022.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has technical and financial assistance available to help Nebraska farmers and livestock producers across the state recover from recent wildfires and ongoing drought. Producers impacted by these events should contact their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure, and livestock losses and damages.

USDA Disaster Assistance for Drought and Wildfire Recovery

Producers who experience livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality due to wildfires may be eligible for the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). To participate in LIP, producers will be required to provide verifiable documentation of death losses resulting from an eligible adverse weather event and must submit a notice of loss to their local FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent.

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides eligible producers with compensation for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events, or loss conditions as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.  For drought-impacted areas, ELAP also covers above normal costs to transport feed and water to livestock or haul livestock to forage or other grazing acres. For ELAP, producers will need to file a notice of loss within 30 days and honeybee losses within 15 days.

Livestock producers may also be eligible for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for 2022 grazing losses due to drought when grazing land or pastureland is physically located in a county rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having a D2 intensity for eight consecutive weeks, D3 drought intensity or greater. FSA maintains a list of counties eligible for LFP and makes updates each Thursday.

FSA also offers a variety of direct and guaranteed farm loans, including operating and emergency farm loans, to producers unable to secure commercial financing. Producers in counties with a primary or contiguous disaster designation may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Loans can help producers replace essential property, purchase inputs like livestock, equipment, feed and seed, cover family living expenses or refinance farm-related debts and other needs. Additionally, FSA has a variety of loan servicing options available for borrowers who are unable to make scheduled payments on their farm loan debt to FSA because of reasons beyond their control.

On May 17, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced they have funding available to assist agricultural producers whose land was impacted by recent wildfires. Landowners have until June 30 to apply.

Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding is available to help producers plan and implement conservation practices on farms and ranches impacted by natural disasters. EQIP funding is available to assist in this wildfire recovery effort by planting cover crops on impacted cropland and to defer grazing on rangeland.

The application signup for this wildfire assistance is happening now and will run through June 30, 2022. Applications will be assessed, and even though some lands may be eligible for assistance, it is not guaranteed that all acres will receive financial assistance due to limited funding.

Interested landowners and operators should contact their local NRCS office in the USDA Service Center for applications and more information.

Read more: USDA Assistance

Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory

On April 11, 2022, the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center issued a fuels and fire behavior advisory for parts of Nebraska. You can check to see which areas are under an advisory HERE.

Hay and Forage Hotline 

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has opened a “Hay and Forage Hotline,” to connect buyers with sellers of hay, pasture, and other types of forage. This Hotline service is available to all buyers and sellers for free. The Department is providing this information as it has been given to us; the listing of individual names does not in any way constitute an endorsement of anyone or their respective product. The Hotline is merely designed to be a clearinghouse of information for producers in need.

The hotline number is (402) 471-4876. Sellers of available hay and forage can contact this number and have their name, contact information, and inventory placed on the “Sellers List,” which is updated regularly. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture will then make the “Sellers List” available to buyers by mail or by this website. Once buyers obtain this information they will be responsible for contacting the sellers directly to negotiate any transactions. Learn more here.

Farm Rescue

The mission of Farm Rescue is to help family farms and ranches bridge crises so they have an opportunity to continue viable operations. Farm Rescue provides planting, haying, harvesting, and livestock feeding assistance to farm and ranch families that have experienced a major injury, illness, or natural disaster.

Farm Rescue gives families a chance to continue their livelihood by providing the necessary equipment and manpower (free of charge) to get the job done.

Apply for assistance: https://farmrescue.org/apply/

Protect Your Large Animals and Livestock from Wildfires

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, here are some ways to protect large animals and livestock from wildfires.

Your animals can be affected by wildfire smoke. If you feel the effects of smoke, they probably do too! High levels of smoke are harmful. Long exposure to lower levels of smoke can also irritate animals’ eyes and respiratory tract and make it hard for them to breathe. Reduce your animals’ exposure to smoke the same way you reduce your own: spend less time in smoky areas and limit physical activity. Animals with heart or lung disease and older animals are especially at risk from smoke and should be closely watched during all periods of poor air quality. Take the following actions to protect your large animals and livestock against wildfire smoke.

Protect Your Animals During Smoke Episodes

• Limit strenuous activities that increase the amount of smoke breathed into the lungs.
• Provide plenty of freshwater near feeding areas.
• Limit dust exposure by feeding low-dust or dust-free feeds and sprinkling or misting the livestock holding areas.
• Consider moving outdoor birds to a less smoky environment, such as a garage or basement.
• Give your livestock 4 to 6 weeks to recover fully from smoky conditions before resuming strenuous activity.
• Protect yourself, too! Think about wearing an N95 or P100 respirator while taking care of your animals.

Prepare Before a Wildfire
Know where to take your livestock if smoke persists or becomes severe, or if you need to evacuate. Good barn and field maintenance can reduce fire danger for horses and other livestock.

Record Keeping
• Make sure your animals have permanent identification (ear tags, tattoos, electronic microchips, brands, etc.).
• Keep pictures of animals, especially high-value animals, such as horses, up-to-date.
• Keep a list of the species, number, and locations of your animals with your evacuation supplies.
• Note animals’ favorite hiding spots. This will save precious rescue time!
• Keep vaccination records, medical records, and registration papers with your Evacuation Kit.

Preparing for Evacuations
• Assemble an Evacuation Kit.
• Know where you can temporarily shelter your livestock. Contact your local fairgrounds, stockyards, equestrian centers, etc. about their policies.
• Identify trailer resources and train all livestock to load in those trailers.
• Make an evacuation plan for your animals. Plan several different evacuation routes.
• Check with local emergency management officials before you need to evacuate.
• Do not wait until the last minute. Corral animals to prepare for off-site movement.
• Above all, ensure the safety of you and your family.

Evacuation Kit
This list has just some recommended items for
large animals and livestock. Your animals may have
their own special requirements.
• Supply of feed, supplements, and water for 7 to 10 days.
• Blankets, halters, leads, water buckets, manure fork, and trash barrel.
• Copies of vaccination records, medical records, and proof of ownership.
• Tools: flashlight, heavy leather gloves, rope, shovel, knife, and wire cutters.
• Animal care instructions for diet and medications (for animals left at a shelter).
• Emergency cash, emergency contact list, and first aid kit.

If You Must Leave Your Animals Behind
• If evacuation cannot be accomplished in a safe and timely way, have a preselected, cleared
area where your animals can move about.
• Open gates, cut fences, or herd livestock into areas of lower fire risk.
• Let neighbors and first responders know to be on the lookout for your animals.
• Leave enough food and water for 48 to 72 hours. Do not rely on automatic watering systems.
• Once you leave your property, do not return until told to do so by officials.

Safety Reminders

According to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, here are some of the ways to stay safe during a wildfire:

  • Maintain an area approximately 30’ away from your home that is free of anything that will burn, such as woodpiles, dried leaves, newspapers, and other brush.
  • Connect garden hoses long enough to reach any area of the home and fill garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water.
  • Turn on your TV/radio. You’ll get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the route to take and have a plan of where you will go. Check in with your friends and family.
  • Keep your car fueled, in good condition, and stocked with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

Reduce Health Risks in Areas with Wildfire Smoke

It’s important to limit your exposure to smoke – especially if you are at increased risk for particle-related effects. Click HERE to learn more about steps you can take to protect your health from smoke exposure.

Private Wells After a Wildfire

After a wildfire, private wells can be contaminated and unsafe to use for drinking water and other purposes. Types of issues and solutions vary by geographic region. This page compiles best practices from state and local programs addressing private wells. You can also explore CDC’s Rapid Assessment Form for Wells Affected by Wildfire. If you are a private well owner looking for help, talk to your local health department for guidance based on local conditions.

Food Safety During an Emergency

Find out how to keep food safe before, during, and after emergencies, such as floods, fires, natural disasters, or the loss of power.

Using AirNow During Wildfires

With so many air quality websites available these days, it can be challenging to know which one to use for information – especially during a wildfire. Use this document to learn more about using key parts of the AirNow website: the Fire and Smoke Map, the Dial, and the Interactive Map. You may need a PDF reader to view files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.

FEMA Alerts
In the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) app you can:
  • Receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide.
  • Share real-time notifications with loved ones via text, email, and social media
  • Learn emergency safety tips for over 20 types of disasters, including fires, flooding, hurricanes, snowstorms, tornadoes, volcanoes, and more.
  • Locate open emergency shelters and disaster recovery centers in your area where you can talk to a FEMA representative in person.
  • Prepare for disasters with a customizable emergency kit checklistemergency family plan, and reminders.
You can sign up for emergency text alerts and download the app from FEMA here.