At least 80 head of cattle burned to death in an aggressive wildfire that has now spread to more than 455,000 acres of rangeland in southeast Oregon. Now six ranches are picking up the pieces and struggling to find adequate food for their surviving herds.
The Long Draw Fire, located near Basque, Ore., was started by a lightning strike on July 8. Six ranches - 12-Mile Ranch, Mayer, Lucky Seven, Eiguren, Dowell and Wilkinson – have each reported rangeland and cattle lost in the inferno.
Jeanette Yturriondobeitia, co-owner of 12-Mile Ranch, told Capital Press that at least 80 mother cows out of 300 were found burned to death or had to be destroyed due to the extent of their injuries.
"I don't know how many calves," Yturriondobeitia said. "I'm riding across black ground and rock. My daughter and I are gathering up some left."
Yturriondobeitia reported that their ranch will now have to buy hay or look for other winter ranges since all of their rangeland has been destroyed. She also noted that one of the other ranches, Mayer Ranch, has been given a 14-day extension to graze in the high county by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management due to their rangeland losses.
Firefighting authorities have reported that firefighting efforts in the past four days have involved more than 300 firefighting personnel, including five, 20-person fire crews, one helicopter, 20 fire engines, two bulldozers, and five water tenders. The fire is located on the east and west sides of U.S. Highway 95, approximately 10 miles north of McDermitt, Nev.