Washington, D.C. – With the Long Draw wildfire in southeastern Oregon being just one of several wildfires already having burnt more than 600,000 acres collectively across the state, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has sent a letter to President Obama seeking additional resources to fight these fires as well as aid in securing disaster relief to prevent more damage to farmers and ranchers and the increased loss of cattle and wild horses.
Several wildfires are burning on Oregon’s Bureau of Land Management lands, causing damage to farms and ranches, scorching the grazing and pasture land needed to feed cattle and wild horses. Due to the timing and the high number of wildfires throughout the country fire fighting resources were outside of the state when these fires started. The Long Draw fire – currently the largest in the nation -- has already claimed 500,000 acres and is exhibiting “extreme wildfire behavior.”
“At the time that the fires broke out, many of Oregon’s firefighting crews were dispatched around the nation fighting other fires,” Wyden wrote in the letter to the President. “While efforts are underway to bring crews back to Oregon, I want to make sure you are aware of the urgency of the situation and the need for national resources to fight this fire. Community volunteers and local fire crews have battled these fires bravely, but I ask you to ensure that there are adequate Federal resources – including crews, air tankers, helicopters and engines.”
The loss grazing and pasture land caused by these wildfires has put ranchers at risk of losing livestock. Ranchers are in need of assistance finding alternative feed sources as well as places to keep their livestock away from the advancing fires. Wyden called for the President work jointly with the Governor to provide disaster declarations for the affected counties and help to find avenues of assistance for ranchers.