Sunday, April 03, 2016

Ranchers, government leaders work to prevent another catastrophic wildfire season

OKANOGAN, Wash. -- When the wildfires ripped through north-central Washington last summer, Nespelem rancher Dave McClure feared the worst for his livestock. "I was informed by the Forest Service up in Republic that I had some burned cattle up there," said McClure. "There was the desire to go up and try to grab them and move them some place but not the way the fire conditions were." The conditions were so devastating it burned more than 200 homes, destroyed infrastructure, and claimed the lives of three U.S. Forest Service firefighters. McClure is still adding up his own losses nearly eight months after the fires -- at least seven of his animals died in the North Star fire that also scorched his timber, rangeland, and fencing. "That's the overwhelming part. There's 20-some miles of fence to rebuild," said McClure, who is not alone in the losses suffered in the wildfires. McClure was one of many ranchers and loggers who met with federal leaders on Thursday evening for a discussion about wildfire preparedness and how to prevent wildfires from jeopardizing their livelihoods for a third year in a row...more

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