Sponsored by Oregon Business

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

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


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...

Power Players

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

A new energy-sharing agreement sparks concerns about independence and collaboration in the region's utility industry.


Read more...

Emperor of the Sea

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.


Read more...

City announces plans for Portland summer-league baseball team

News
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
IMG 3888BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Baseball is returning to Portland and city officials are hoping economic opportunity comes with it.


Read more...

Money Talks

March 2015
Saturday, February 21, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Will community banks survive the digital age? Three CEOs peer into banking's crystal ball.


Read more...

Help Wanted: Poached Jobs aids restaurateurs

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

“We thought there was room for something new.”


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