Federal Government Offers Aid for Burned Oregon Pastures

August 10, 2007

Ranchers whose pastures have been damaged by fire can get federal help if they’re willing to reseed and keep livestock off the land until 2010.

Bob Graham, state conservationist for the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, said ranchers have until Aug. 17 to sign up.

The program provides a one-time, $16-per-acre payment to landowners who agree to reseed their rangeland and defer grazing their herds on it until spring 2010, the Baker City Herald reported.

Deferred grazing will minimize erosion and help plants get established, the agency said. The payments, according to a press release, are intended to offset reseeding and deferred grazing costs.

Individuals may enroll up to 2,500 acres of grazing land. The service has set aside $150,000 for the program through Sept. 30.

As of Wednesday morning, fires were burning on more than 370,000 acres in Oregon. But firefighters had containment lines dug around most of the large fires, and most of the small fires were on their way to getting under control.

South of Fossil, in Wheeler County, the Oregon Department of Forestry said firefighters were being released to head for other blazes after getting on top of the 2,700-acre Shelton fire.

The fire consumed a home and five outbuildings, led to some power outages and closed Oregon 19 for a time.

Fire officials said they expected to have lines dug around the fire by Thursday.

Near the North Fork John Day Wilderness in northeastern Grant County, authorities reported “good progress” on another small fire, on 3,200 acres and named Trout Meadows. It was rated at only 20 percent contained and was burning toward the North Fork John Day River.

Firefighters also continued working on the long-running Battle Creek fire in far northeastern Oregon. The fire on nearly 80,000 acres along the Imnaha River, was the largest fire not yet contained in Oregon.

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