Oklahoma Wildfires Responsible for at least 1,100 Cattle Deaths
Projections from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture released earlier this week stated that at least 1,100 cattle had died from the Rhea and 34 Complex wildfires that have raged since April 12. These two wildfires have now been contained as of April 26, but not without killing two people and burning almost 350,000 acres. Rod Hall, the state veterinarian for Oklahoma, believes that the cattle fatalities could be even higher in the coming weeks, close to 2,500 head, as more ranchers come forward after the smoke clears.
Rainfall earlier in the week has greatly helped efforts to contain the fire, and has allowed fire crews to fully contain both wildfires to 100%. Hot spots within the containment zone are still active, where some cedar trees and brush are still burning, but Oklahoma Forestry Services state that the spreading of these wildfires have stopped.
Oklahoma also experienced large cattle losses last year due to wildfires. The Starbuck Fire killed over 3,000 cattle in the Sooner State, and was responsible for 6,000 cattle deaths in Kansas.