Wildfire recovery meeting set for Wednesday in Natoma

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 5:36 AM CST
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VICTORIA, Kan. (KWCH) - A wildfire recovery meeting is set to take place in Natoma on Wednesday evening. The discussion will center around the resources and support needed for farmers and ranchers who suffered loss of property and livestock from wildfires on Dec. 15.

Wednesday’s meeting could impact farmers and ranchers across the state, setting them up for relief from significant and costly losses. Wednesday marks two weeks since the fires destroyed property and damaged the livelihood of farmers and ranchers in north-central Kansas.

“It’s kind of been a lot of chaos just trying to get cows to places that they’re safe and fed,” Victoria rancher Chad Williams said.

Williams said he’s had friends from North Dakota and Montana providing help, and he’s been emotionally sustained by their kindness.

“It’s what keeps you going,” Williams said. “You really just want to sit down and quit when everything is burnt and black.”

All of Williams’ animals are accounted for, but the fire caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Williams said he lost about 6,000 acres of grass and between 30 and 40 miles of fencing.

But help could be on the way as ranchers and farmers gather Wednesday to formulate solutions and speed up the recovery process for those in need.

“Talking about these disaster assistance programs, there are going to be (Farm Service Agency) staff on hand - USDA staff, (National Conservation Resource Service) to talk specifics about these programs,” Kansas Livestock Association VP of Communications Scarlett Hagins said. “What they’ll need to do to apply, what kind of documentation they have.”

The meeting happens at 6 p.m. at the Natoma Elementary School gymnasium. For those who can’t attend, a Zoom meeting is scheduled for 6:30.

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