Bootleg Fire devastates southern Oregon farmers and ranchers


by Sierra Dawn McClain, Capital Press, Salem, Ore.

via The Fence Post - Jul 21, 2021


FREMONT-WINEMA NATIONAL FOREST, Ore. — The Bootleg Fire, Oregon’s third-largest wildfire ever recorded, has devastated farm communities in southern Oregon.


The fire, according to the Incident Information System, has burned more than 364,113 acres, an area larger than Los Angeles. It has killed and maimed livestock, consumed pasturelands and blanketed crops with smoke.


“It’s been awful,” said Connie Willard, leader of Project Spirit, a nonprofit horse rescue.


The past two weeks, Willard and her volunteers have been helping small farms evacuate hundreds of animals. Willard’s team has rescued cows, sheep, goats, emus, pigs, chickens, ducks and turkeys.


The Bootleg Fire has been especially hard on cattle ranchers.


“It’s been horrific and devastating,” said Geneva Jayne, a rancher who runs cattle with her husband and in-laws on Forest Service land near where the fire started.


The fire, Jayne said, burned her entire permit where 180 cows were grazing, killing about 15 of her cows and one bull.


“We had to euthanize several because they were so badly injured — hooves missing, udders burned,” she said.


She started crying...




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