Wildfires affecting ranchers, your wallet and safety - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Wildfires affecting ranchers, your wallet and safety

NewsChannel 10

RANDALL COUNTY--- The dangerous wildfire season is hurting ranchers on a scale they haven't felt.

Mike Kuhlman grew up ranching, he says in 61 years, he's never seen a problem like this. Recent wildfires have charred about 15 hundred acres of land, and destroyed miles of fences.

"Why are fences so important?" asked NewsChannel 10.

"The main thing is safety for people going up an down the roads, it keeps the cattle off the highways and interstates." replied Kuhlman.

Repairing those fences is not a cheap task. It costs up to ten thousand dollars for every mile of fencing. According to the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Ranchers Association, Kuhlman is not alone. Association administrators recently met with lawmakers in Washington D.C. to get help in fixing a problem they say will cost Texas ranchers, 40 million dollars. They want legislators to remember while they are discussing battles and budgets, raising beef is important too.

"We are seeing wildfires in Texas, like we have never seen before, on top of this drought....everything ultimately is going to impact food prices." said Jason Skaggs with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Ranchers Association.

Kuhlman's business has been hit by three wildfires since April. While he hopes the feds will help Texas cowboys he says its all part of a bigger picture. They can't even replace the fences until it rains because right now, the ground is too dry.

"We're dry and we need rain, but the good Lord knows it and he's never late." Kuhlman tells NewsChannel 10.

The association says the recent meeting in Washington was positive for ranchers, but there is no word yet on how much help the federal government will give or when that will come.