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Fire recovery efforts continue for north-central Kansas

Published: Dec. 19, 2021 at 5:33 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The recovery efforts continue throughout north-central Kansas following Wednesday’s devastating fires. Resources for ranchers, like hay donations, fencing supplies, and other livestock items, are coming in from across the state and nation.

It’s all to help support the return of these ranches in Russell, Ellis, Rooks and Osborne Counties impacted with homes and livestock lost in Wednesday’s wildfire. It will be a pain felt by many for years to come.

Mandy Raithel is friends with the Dickerson family who runs Bar S Ranch in Paradise

Mandy Raithel, who is one of the people organizing a relief support sale, said, “I know that they were struggling a lot as anybody would if they had their complete livelihood and the things that they care the most about ripped away from them. The support that they’re getting from not only the ag community but their community at large, I think those things are helping them raise their spirits.”

Raithel said their house, hundreds of cattle, dogs, and numerous other belongings are gone.

Raithel stated, “Those animals are part of your family. Your livelihood and you would give everything to try to save them and make them thrive and live, and to be helpless and to lose them in just the blink of your eye is unfathomable. It’s like having 200 deaths in your family instead of one.”

At this moment, of course, many people want to help. Raithel said many of the ranchers impacted by the wildfires in Kansas Wednesday are part of the national livestock show circuit, where those in this industry become friends. That has people from around the nation looking at what they can do.

“That can’t be there to do the day-to-day and to fix fences, drive cows and to doctor the sick ones. We’re just trying to do what we can, and if we can donate and we can band together and get hay loads and things like that,” Raithel said.

To support the Dickenson’s and other ranchers impacted by the wildfire Raithel and other members of the livestock community are making sure they have support. She is among those organizing an online benefit sale to raise funds, collecting nearly 150 items donated from around the country that will be sold Wednesday, Dec 23.

Raithel said, “You don’t have to be in the cattle industry to buy something on that sale.”

She said this allows people to play a small part in supporting these ranches’ recovery and return.

If you would like to purchase an item from the relief sale, information posted Monday, Dec 20, on Show Circuit Online Sales before the sale goes live Wednesday.

Raithel said they’ve received donations for the benefit, including frozen cattle genetics, household items, jewelry, fishing trips, dogs and many other items.

“As all Ag people do, we rally around who we need to get the most help.” Raithel said, “We’ll lift them up, they’ll rebuild and it will be better than ever.”

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