Drought, fire, water and livestock

A deepening drought is threatening one third of the U.S. And that includes a lot of livestock country.

Wildfires are starting up all over, and I’m especially sensitive to these fires when they affect the livestock. In Colorado, three new wildfires started last week that burned more than 11,000 acres, forcing thousands of people and livestock to evacuate and hundreds of firefighters to respond.

A fire of more than 1,600 acres in Douglas County forced the evacuation of more than 8,500 people between Parker and Franktown on Thursday afternoon. Residents were allowed home a little after 8 p.m., when the fire was 50 percent contained.  Evacuated livestock, however, were not allowed to return immediately.

Farther out on the plains, near where I grew up, a 5,100-acre fire briefly drove all 90 residents of the town of Karval and fire consumed two county bridges and burned a barn.

Thankfully, no homes were lost in any of the blazes, and there were no reported injuries.

It is important to remind people during this dry time of year to be cautious of their activities – especially what they throw out of a car window strolling down the highway. As I-70 cuts through my family’s ranch, there is a constant concern of a careless passerby throwing out a cigarette – or even a spark from a vehicle – that will start the ranch on fire.

Also during a period of drought, you have to be concerned about water issues. There is no doubt that water use issues are among the biggest challenges facing agricultural producers nationwide, but particularly in states where water is at a premium.

Corn growers are getting more pro-active Texas with a new public information campaign to share the message that water conservation goals can be achieved without severe restrictions on irrigation that would damage the economy of Texas High Plains. Plus, I am loving the color scheme of their new logo.

The campaign includes televised public service announcements, a 10 minute video and a new website, http://www.watergrowsjobs.org/, with the slogan “Water grows our economy; let’s make it last.”
Watch the video here:

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