Arizona wildfires continue to burn out of control

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Wildfires in Arizona continue to burn out of control, almost two weeks after the fire started.

As of Wednesday, the fire has burned more than 600 square miles and is reported to be the second largest fire in Arizona history. Firefighters from as far away as New York have been called in to fight the fire, and no containment of the fire is in sight. The largest fire in Arizona history burned more than 732 square miles in 2002.

The agriculture industry in Arizona is being impacted by the fire, with livestock farmers being the most affected, says Julie Murphree, director of public relations for the Arizona Farm Bureau.

The fire has caused some cattle to become stranded without feed, and Murphree says the Farm Bureau is working to get feed to the marooned cattle.

Other displaced livestock are being relocated. Summer pastures have been burned in some places, but the cattle were not on them. Ranchers in the affected areas are reported to be OK at this time.

“So far, we have not heard of dairy farms in the area that have been impacted,” notes Murphreee.

Robert Hagevoort, extension dairy specialist with New Mexico State University, says that the dairy industry in New Mexico has yet to be impacted by the Arizona fires. “The majority of the dairy farms in New Mexico are located on the east side of the state, well out of range of the fire.”

But Hagevoort says New Mexico dairy farms have had their fair share of fires to deal with. “One fire burned more than 71,000 acres and ran right around a couple dairy farms. One dry manure lagoon caught on fire and smoldered for three to four weeks,” he says.

Another fire surrounded a dairy and caused the farm to relocate the cows from the corrals to an irrigated wheat field. There have also been several fires in the Texas panhandle area. “All of the fires are out right now, but there have been lots and lots of fires in our area,” notes Hagevoort.

Lack of rainfall has provided the perfect conditions for fires. Typically, June, July and August is when New Mexico sees the most rain. “We had a half inch of rain last week; otherwise, there has been no measurable rainfall since August of last year,” explains Hagevoort. “Hopefully, we will get some rain fall and the fire risks will diminish.”

For more on the Arizona wildfires, check out this news clip from ABC News.

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Rusty S    
Indiana  |  June, 09, 2011 at 06:10 AM

Article does not say where in Arizona the fires are located. That would have been helpful.

Megan Pierce    
June, 09, 2011 at 09:56 AM

Hi Rusty, The fire is burning in Apache county, eastern region of the state, along the Arizona/New Mexico border. Greer, Egar and Springerville towns have all been evacuated. Thanks! Megan Pierce

Philip Lewis    
Salem, NY  |  June, 09, 2011 at 10:17 AM

I suspect that most bovines would prefer to live in NY or New England. We have encouraged "animal agriculture" to locate and expand in perpetually dry, rugged and inhospitable locales. The USA continues to insist upon farming in areas lacking adequate water. Fires are unpleasant for all. Fires tend to occur in dry regions. Irrigation is becoming increasingly expensive. Water is becoming increasingly more difficult to acquire. Just pointing out the irrational activities supported by government policy. I'm not a wildfire advocate.

June, 11, 2011 at 09:08 AM

Philip you are clueless, I live in AZ. There is a reason AZ has seen 4 of it worst fires in AZ history in the last 10 years. Total Miss-management by the U.S. forest service. There to Blame for these fires. The area burning is at 8000 feet very lush and receives 30+ inches of rain a year. The FS. has failed to manage the forrest properly Again!!!

lucille l    
califonia  |  June, 11, 2011 at 08:59 PM

I would really like to know what is happening to the people not the cows.

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