Missouri farmers help with fire recovery in Oklahoma - KMOV.com

Missouri farmers help with fire recovery in Oklahoma

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Truck pulling hale bales headed to Oklahoma (Credit: Nathan Snodgrass) Truck pulling hale bales headed to Oklahoma (Credit: Nathan Snodgrass)
The farmers who went to Oklahoma (Credit: Chris Jones) The farmers who went to Oklahoma (Credit: Chris Jones)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Teams of farmers from communities outside of St. Louis are stepping up to help those affected by fires in Oklahoma.

The farmers felt like they had to help after learning families lost everything generations had spent working to build, including barns, equipment, livestock and pets. This week, they took trailers of hay and supplies to Oklahoma to help the families rebuild the land where they make a living.

The men are from Sullivan, Gerald, New Melle, Union, Washington, Pacific and Wentzville. Several of them are also firefighters.

“I have seen some amazing things, both good and bad. I can honestly tell you I have never seen anything like what we saw yesterday in Kansas and Oklahoma,” said Casey Jones, a Pattonville firefighter/paramedic with 12 years of experience.  “The only words that come to mind are heartbreaking and overwhelming.”

Multiple fires burning simultaneously this month burned more than 750,000 acres of land in Oklahoma and Kansas, according to Beaver County Emergency Management Director Keith Shadden. He says 3,000 cows and 18 horses also died. He also said 10 homes and 1,000 miles of fencing was destroyed. Shadden said firefighters worked at great risk to themselves to save other homes and noted some of the firefighters had burn injuries because of the intense heat.

Shadden said the fire in Beaver County started on March 6 and was active through March 8th but the fight to contain it and put out any hotspots continued through March 21st. “You couldn’t outdrive it,” said Shadden, speaking to the fierce conditions. He said between dry land and high winds, the fire swiftly spread. He said the Stabuck fire alone burned 662,000 acres and several others that popped up destroyed tens of thousands of acres more.

Casey said his group took supplies to a rancher who happens to be the fire chief in Knowles, OK.

“He was in town making sure houses were saved while his ranch was burning. Both of his sons are firemen and they were serving the community when their livelihood was burning,” said Jones.

Jones said that rancher lost 198 cows and 90 calves. Most of the cows were pregnant or mothers. He estimates they will need to restore 50-60 miles of fence around the property.

Other groups of farmers tell News 4 they are also planning to head south to deliver farming supplies.

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