Reaching out to devastated Panhandle communities

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, March 11, 2017

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Wildfires have scorched the Panhandle this week, resulting in the loss of life and destruction of homes and acreage.

I’m heartsick for the communities affected and can’t imagine their sense of loss. The Texas A&M Forest Service said the Perryton fire, in Hemphill, Lipscomb, Ochiltree and Roberts counties, scorched 318,056 acres, the third largest in Texas history.

Kristen Tribe

Kristen Tribe

There have been three major fires and combined, they have burned 480,000 acres according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

Four people have been killed, including three who were trying to save cattle from the approaching flames. I feel sick every time I think about it – their valiant effort, panic rising in their chests as they tried to outrun the blaze, and finally, the terror of being trapped.

The sadness must be unbearable.

In addition to the loss of human life, the Texas Cattle Feeders Association estimates 1,500 cattle were killed in the fires, and more than 5,000 head have been displaced and in immediate need of hay and feed supplies.

Help is pouring in from across the state and Monday the Decatur Livestock Market will have a special segment during its regular sale to benefit the affected agriculture community. It will start immediately after the packer cows at approximately 11 a.m.

More than 30 items have already been donated, including everything from cattle to cakes. To see a full list of items to be auctioned, go to the livestock market’s Facebook page. Search “Decatur Livestock Market LLC-Texas”.

Proceeds from the auction will be split between three designated accounts in Gray, Hemphill and Lipscomb counties.

If you would like to donate items to Monday’s auction, call Kimberly at 940-389-5252 or Mickey at 817-253-0201.

To make donations directly, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Texas A&M Forest Service provided the following information:

Monetary donations should be mailed to one of three fire departments.

  • Check payable to Lefors Volunteer Fire and EMS Service Inc., mail it to Lefors Credit Union, Attn: Carole Watson, P.O. Box 425, Lefors, TX 79054.
  • Check payable to Canadian Volunteer Fire Department Inc., mail it to Happy State Bank, Attn: Scott Brewster, P.O. Box 300, Canadian, TX 79014.
  • Check payable to Lipscomb County Firefighters Association, mail to FirstBank Southwest-Booker Branch, Attn: Pam Sanders, P.O. Box 636, Booker, TX 79005.

Livestock feed and/or ranch supplies, may be donated at the following locations:

  • Gray County – Clyde Carruth Pavilion, 301 Bull Barn Drive, Pampa. Contact: Mike Jeffcoat, office 806-669-8033, cell 580-467-0753.
  • Hemphill County – Canadian AH&N Ranch Supply, 100 Hackberry Trail, Canadian. Contact: Andy Holloway, office 806-323-9114, cell 325-668-0466.
  • Lipscomb County – Limpscomb County Show Facility, 202 West Main Street, Lipscomb. Contact: J.R. Sprague, office 806-862-4601, cell 806-202-5288.

Those making donations are asked to call for supply point hours of operations prior to delivering supplies.

For general questions about donations or relief efforts, call 806-677-5628.

Kristen Tribe is editor of the Wise County Messenger.

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