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Interagency Lodgepole Complex Fire Meeting

Interagency Lodgepole Complex Fire Meeting

8/4/2017 4:37:00 PM/Categories: General News, Today's Top 5, Wildfire

Two interagency informational meetings were held for producers affected by the Lodge Pole Fire Complex at the Sand Springs Church and Fairview Hall in Jordan. The meeting was organized by the Garfield County Conservation District and representatives attended from the state DNRC, BLM, NRCS and FSA offices. 


As ranchers across Garfield and Petroleum County take a breath to try to figure out what to do next and start to rebuild, the various government agencies offered their assistance and laid out the disaster programs that are available to provide financial and technical assistance to producers.


Dean Rogge, Garfield County Conservation District Chairman, thanked everyone for attending and reminded them to stay positive during this trying time. The agencies are working hard to bring relief to the area and stretch the available funding as far as possible. 


Anne Miller, who has been coordinating the county wide disaster relief efforts told all producers to get a hold of them to receive donated fuel, hay and fencing supplies. She also asked that land owners get her the names of those who volunteered their time to help with the initial fire attack. This information will be submitted to FEMA for a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) to reimburse the state for up to 75% of all eligible expenses related to the fire.


Representative from the BLM and DNRC told the ranchers that they may apply for a refund on any public ground that they lease that was unused prior to the fire. The BLM will be working with producers to identify which fences need to be replaced immediately and will address deferred grazing plans on a case-by-case basis.


The NRCS has a $3M package of funding available through the EQIP program that producers must apply for by August 15th. A new funding package will be put together for the next fiscal year but the encouraged producers to apply as soon as possible. Terry Heck, the Acting Assistant State Conservationist, talked about what kind of assistance is available for affected ranchers. They may apply for technical assistance such as seed recommendations or designing grazing systems. There is also financing assistance available for prescribed grazing plans, replacing fences, obstruction removal, critical area planting, constructing water facilities and establishing cover crops on crop acres.


Walt Bales with the FSA discussed the various disaster assistance programs available to producers who have suffered livestock loss, burned haystacks, or suffered grazing losses.


Cathy Byron with the Garfield County Fire Foundation spoke about the outpouring of help that they have received from across the state and country. She said they have received over $230K in donations so far and are still receiving roughly 100 letters per day. A meeting will be held on August 14th in Jordan to discuss how the funds will be distributed to affected ranchers. If you would like to help please contact either Garfield County Bank in Jordan or the Redwater Valley Bank in Circle


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