Fire Damages Land, Farmers Stick Together

Farmers in Jack County are working together to get past the fire storm's effects. When the flames tore through the countryside, it charred pasture land and hay stocks. Many are left scrambling to find a way to feed livestock.

Farmer Larry Armstrong lost 200 bales when his 100-acre hobby farm caught fire. His family has been working that land for generations and they have 2 homes on the plot. He and friends leaped into action to save the houses. "The fire was here and it was consuming everything in its path," he said.

Friends helped him man water hoses and even pulled the siding off his mother's house after it caught on fire. The quick thinking and hard work paid off.  Neither home was seriously damaged in the blaze.

However, the pasture land on which his animals graze is different story. Most all of it is charred. Armstrong had to move his animals to a different plot that was not damaged. There he also had some hay.

Just across Wesley Chapel Road, his neighbor was not as lucky. "All his land and hay burned up," said Armstrong. "It would be like going to the grocery store and the bread aisle is empty. You're in trouble, you know," he said.

Without hay, the options are dismal for cattle raisers. "With nothing to eat, you've got a choice; you can sell your cattle now and be at the mercy of how the market is now, or you can go buy hay and as soon as people hear there's been a disaster they are jacking prices up," he said.

Armstrong shared his hay with his neighbor. He offered it for free, but the man insisted on paying Armstrong market prices. Armstrong says being able to stick together and help one another is the only way farmers can make it. "Without friends and neighbors, this house would be gone and my house would be gone," he said.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6