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Utah activates emergency fund for wildfire-impacted livestock

Published: Monday, July 2 2012 3:40 p.m. MDT

Pet owners try to coral larger farm animals as fire engulfs the neighborhoods in the Rose Canyon area of Herriman, Friday afternoon, June 29, 2012.

Pat Reavy, Deseret News

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Related: Drought starting to get stranglehold on Utah

SALT LAKE CITY  — Utah's early and damaging wildfire season is prompting the state agriculture department to activate an emergency fund to buy feed for livestock with rangeland charred by multiple blazes.

Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food Leonard Blackham said about 20,000 head of sheep and cattle have lost seasonal rangeland due to fires burning in the state.

The Emergency Animal Feed Fund has been set up by the state in coordination with the Utah Emergency Animal Response Coalition.

The "Feed The Animals" account through Wells Fargo Bank will accept cash donations that will be used to purchase food and other items for animal needs.

In addition, an interactive web site is now available for the public to make donations, and for livestock owners to make requests for assistance. The web site is:  http://www.uearc.org/  The web site is also reachable via: www.ag.utah.gov/

“We have established this important fund to help our ranchers, and others who have lost the ability to feed their animals,” said Utah Gov.  Gary Herbert.  “This is an opportunity for Utahns across the state to pitch in and help our livestock owners remain in business and recover from this terrible fire season.”

The state agriculture department said it has received numerous requests for assistance from Utah's ranchers who have been battling twin problems of drought and wildfires.

The Utah Emergency Response Coalition is a  501(c) (3) organization that has been established for some time to care for animals during times of emergencies. One hundred percent of the funds donated will be used to feed and care for the affected animals, according to state agriculture officials.

E-mail: amyjoi@desnews.com

Twitter: amyjoi16

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