Drought, fire afflict eastern counties

| Print |  Email
Saturday, September 01, 2007

 

VALE In August, Malheur County became the fifth Oregon county to declare an emergency as drought conditions and high temperatures continue to sap ranch and farmland and spark wildfires throughout the region. Harney, Union and Klamath counties declared fire and emergencies in July, and Baker County declared a drought emergency in May.

In Malheur, county judge Dan Joyce says that more than 200,000 acres of rangeland have been ravaged in his area by either fire or drought. Average annual rainfall is 6 to 7 inches, but there have been only 2 inches so far this year. Drought forecasts see little change in conditions through the fall, and surface water availability is getting worse.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a few more declarations before the summer is over,” says Jim Johnson, water quantity specialist for Oregon’s Department of Agriculture. The counties are asking for state and federal disaster relief. Johnson says the governor is expected to declare a disaster in those counties and to ask for federal aid.

Joyce says Malheur’s $80 million cattle industry is reeling. Alfalfa output is down, burned out rangeland can’t support cattle, and because of the drought, meadows and pasturelands have not had green grass since a year ago. He  adds that there have already been forced sales of cattle because of feed scarcity. “One of the ranchers who has been here for 75 years said it’s the worst drought in his lifetime.”

“We ran out of water three weeks ago,” says Margene Eiguren, of Eiguren Ranch near Arock in southeast Oregon.

“Our range reservoirs are dry. If we don’t get a good winter, we could end up with no water for grazing. If the drought continues, we’ll have to liquidate these cows. If you have to liquidate the cows, you liquidate your means of making a living.”

ROBIN DOUSSARD


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 

More Articles

Convention Wisdom

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

After more than a decade of wrangling, construction on a convention center hotel in Portland is slated to start this summer. But debate over project financing continues.


Read more...

All Rise

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Don’t just sit there. For a healthy workplace, move up and down — and all around.


Read more...

Ski traffic

Linda Baker
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
0121-skiway-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.


Read more...

Cache and Curry

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Power Lunch at Swagat in Hillsboro.


Read more...

5 schools helping students crack code

The Latest
Thursday, January 29, 2015
codeduthumbnailBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As the costs of college mount, and as employer demand for software developers soars, coding schools and classes are popping up everywhere.


Read more...

That's Not a Watch (This Is a Watch)

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Smartwatches are all the rage. But old-fashioned timepieces keep on ticking.


Read more...

Carbon Power

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Researchers in a multitude of disciplines are searching for ways to soak up excess carbon dioxide, the compound that contributes to global warming.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS