After fire ravaged nearly half a million acres in the Texas panhandle, Texans are banding together to help however they can. That includes Midland rancher Tallian Thompson, who donated $30,000 worth of hay to feed misplaced livestock.
Thompson spoke to News West 9 about the deed. "I'd give them everything I got if I could but you just do what you can," the rancher says.
Though he doesn't have any personal connections to the panhandle victims, Thompson says they're all ranching family. And he notes that losing livestock isn't just about one crop. It's about the years to come.
"If you lose a cow you didn't just lose your crop for this year, that cow is going to produce for years to come," Thomspon says. "These people aren't just losing their income for this year but for years out."
And the selfless rancher says he knows the panhandle would do the same for the Midland area. "It's just Texas," he says. "It's how we do business." Thompson also auctioned off a hunt, with the high bid at $12,000. After starting the auction, two others donated hunts for the cause.
The strangers' generosity comes in a severe time of need and presents a small bright spot in an otherwise grim situation. Officials estimate misplaced livestock need about 4,200 pounds worth of feed over the next two weeks.
The damage came from three separate fires, burning more than 480,000 acres and crossing multiple counties. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott allocated state resources to fight the fires, which claimed the lives of five Texans. Three of the victims were attempting to save their cattle. The fires also cause the deaths of a person in Oklahoma and a person in Kansas.
1,500 cattle were killed in the fires, which are now ranked as the third largest in the history of Texas.
Officials don't yet know the cause of the fires, which began on March 6, nor the total damage. However, firefighters battled back and contained most of the blazes within a few days.