The aftermath recovery from the fires that ravaged western Kansas in early March continues with different Kansas groups rising to meet the needs of their fellow statesmen. Brandon Friesen near Meade went on Facebook to find help for fence rebuilding, as focus shifts from disposal of cattle to finding ways to feed those that survived.
"All the donated hay that we have been seeing coming through town has been a great blessing for the ranchers," Friesen said. "But in a few short weeks the grass will be ready to put cattle back on and they won't have the fence to keep them in."
Starting this Saturday, Friesen and friends are putting together teams of volunteers to help neighbors who are faced with the impossible task of rebuilding thousands of miles of fences so they can get cattle out on grass that will start growing with spring moisture.
"There has been a lot of response to Clark and Comanche counties, and they really need the help there," Friesen said. "But here in the south and southeastern portions of Meade we had some big ranches burnt out and we really need help here too. We are just trying to get some attention here to help those who are in need here as well."
This Saturday, and for as many Saturdays to come as needed, volunteers will be needed to provide labor for tearing out burned fencing. This consists of taking wires off posts and pullling out the post and remaining wire.
"When you are tearing out fence anybody can do that," Friesen said. "To rebuild it you kind of have to know what you are doing, but for getting the old stuff out, we will take all the help we can get."
Equipment needed to get the cleanup workers rolling includes tractors and skid-steers with loaders to haul off the old fencing, powered wire rollers, and hand tools like side snipers, pliers and gloves.
Friesen said his plan was to gather volunteers near Englewood at the Countryside Bible Church at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, and then disperse teams to planned ranches from there. He would prefer people call ahead at 620-255-2874, so locations and needs can be meet in an organized fashion.
"We are accepting help from all over," Friesen said. "There's plenty of ranches that got hit out here and we won't have any trouble finding a place to put people to work."
Fencing supplies for the rebuilding efforts that will follow deconstruction of burned out fence-lines could be coming from Pratt County where Jeff McCaskey has been organizing a donation of fencing supplies for farmers and ranchers affected by the Starbuck fires in western Kansas.
As a moderator of a Pratt Coalition group, McCaskey spoke to Tractor Supply on Orschelin's Farm Stores in Pratt and they agree to give a 10 percent discount off fencing items purchased by people donating the items to fire victims.
"People can go in and purchase barbed wire, creosote line posts and 6 or 6 1/2 foot metal T-posts," McCaskey said. "They can just leave them at the store and we will go pick up the whole load at once and transport it west where it is needed."
He said that any fencing supplies will be accepted as there is so much that needs to be replaced.
While senators and state representatives are working to get federal and state funds moving for wildfire recovery assistance, it is the selfless labor of concerned fellow Kansans that is coming to the immediate aid of those needing help in the agriculture community. For more information contact county extension offices about how and where to donate labor, feed, money and fencing supplies to alleviate a dire situation for cattle ranchers out west.