PORTLAND, Ore. – In the wake of some of the West Coast's largest wildfires, ranchers are wrestling with the loss of cattle and grazing land.
Data shows the vast majority of the 1.6 million acres — nearly 2,600 square miles — that burned in Oregon, Idaho and Washington this year are federally owned. And large swaths of that public land are used as rangeland for livestock grazing.
In Oregon's Canyon Creek Complex alone, 125 of the 170 square miles burned were grazing allotments where 4,000 cows ranged.
Some ranchers lost their entire rangeland. Hundreds of cows perished. Others have burnt hooves. Millions of dollars' worth of hay stacks, fences and barns went up in flames.
Ranchers say the scorched land will be closed to grazing for several years. They're scrambling to figure out how to feed their cows.