UPDATE – March 20, 2022 at 8pm.A new group has been set up on Facebook called Texas Wildfire Updates and Resources. For additional information and to keep up with the current situation, join the group at this link.
To view a map of the current fire locations, go to this link.
When I sat down in the World Headquarters of How Big Is Texas in San Angelo this morning, my intention was to write a blog about the first day of spring and beautiful gardens you could enjoy over the season. I decided that post would have to wait for another time.
As the winds started picking up this morning in west Texas, my mind went to the fires burning around the Lone Star State. As always, Texans are concerned about the people who have lost their homes and their lives, and the communities under threat from the wildfires that have continued to burn.
When I built my Texas-shaped fire pit at the Official World Headquarters last year, I didn’t connect it to wildfires. My purpose was to enjoy relaxing evenings in the backyard and be thankful to be a Texan. Today, the image it displays from the one and only time we’ve been able to light it, prior to being under a burn ban saddens me. I know it represents what is happening to our fellow Texans as I write this.
While fires are happening in more than just one area of our state, at this writing, a majority of them are happening in Eastland County. More than 50,000 acres of land have burned from four fires, as of this writing, in a county with a population of just under 20,000 people. Tragically, Sheriff Deputy Barbara Fenley lost her life in an effort to save others. Many have lost their homes, and sadly, many more could lose everything, since the fire is not contained due to continued high winds. Helicopters have been used to herd cattle, as the area is known for ranching and farming. There are no words for how impactful these fires will be on these good people.
Ways to Help
Texans and Texas businesses are opening their hearts, their homes, and their pocketbooks for these communities, even those who are also in harm’s way in the county. Rather than try to start a gofundme account or other donation options, I put together a list of locations that are asking for assistance or monetary funds to help the citizens and first responders as they fight this uphill battle to put out the fires.
PLEASE NOTE – Visit the social media pages or call the numbers listed where available to ensure the needs are still there or if they need assistance elsewhere.
The following was posted at 3pm on March 19 from Eastland County Today.
- TDEM – Texas Department of Emergency Management in Siebert Elementary Dome (EASTLAND DISASTER ASSITANCE CENTER) 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Where residence or business can submit application for assistance or fundings for loss of home or business
- According to Rex Fields in interview with Eastland County Today, monetary donations are being accepted at VOAD for active volunteers. contact Marcus Wiley at 325-676-7065 ext .65261 or Courtney Goss 512-243-4337
- Maverick Stadium – (Eastland) Staging Area for volunteers, forest service, and heavy equipment holding to be dispatched by Eastland Fire Dept.
- Donations – can be made to FFB – “ EASTLAND COMPLEX WILDFIRE DONATION FUND” 254-629-6100 for victims of fire
- Eastland Fire Dept. – (Eastland) the American Red Cross is there and delivering items to field as needed, they are only accepting pallets and in need of bottled water at this time. Accepting gas cards, gift cards, and snack foods.
- First Baptist Church – (Eastland) – hygiene items, cloths, pet food, baby items, water, Gatorade, snack, cold sandwiches. In need of…new clothing of socks and underwater, Chapstick, eye drops.
- Mountain Top Church – (Cisco) Myrtle Wilks Center – Do not need anymore donations at time. They have water, fresh food, hygiene, clothing, pet food, care packages for fire fighters.
- Leon River Cowboy Church – (Olden) – Clothing, Food, Hygiene, water items for anyone affected by fire or working the fire. Have small arena if needed. Contact Jim Pelham at 254-653-2840
- Open Door – (Cisco) – Free clothing and baby items available. Need diapers size 4 and 5. Contact Shannon Thompson at 325-370-6147
- River of Life Church – (Eastland) – Clothing, Furniture, Hygiene, Baby items, Food, Household Items. Are accepting children, kid and baby clothes, gift cards, gas cards, and food. Call 254-629-1015
- Meghann’s Market – (Eastland) – Have water, wipes, and hand sanitizers. No longer accepting donations but after Saturday take to water to Eastland Fire Dept.
- Gorman Church of Christ – (Gorman) – Church arrived with supplies to be distributed to victims and responders.
- Catholic Church – ( Eastland Location) – Food and Clothing Distribution and Hygiene – 254-210-7091 or 254-647-3136
- Carbon Community Church – (Carbon) – Box 516, Carbon Texas 76435 or to Carbon Fire Dept. Box 607, Carbon, Texas 76435 – Donations will go to Fire Victims
- Gorman Church of Christ – (Gorman) – Donating shuffles, clothing, tools, household items.
- Wilks Ranch at Flatwood – (Cisco) – set to accept utility crew, fire fighters, volunteers or anyone affected by the fire for lodging, food, showers, rest. Contact Christy Herrera 254-631-6936
- Solid Rock Camp – Lake Leon (Eastland) – providing bedding, food, rest for first responders
- Texas Cattle Exchange – (Olden)– Veterinarian Emergency Team for animals for any animal impacted by the fire, small or large animals. Must be animal impacted by fire.
- Red Chain Feed – (Gorman) – is Central Distribution Site in County for all donated Hay, Feed. Contact Luke at 254-485-9193 or office at 254-734-2252
- First Baptist Church – (Gorman) – Clothing, Food, Baby Items, Water, Gatorade, Few Specific sizes in clothes. Accepting Donations
- Ranger Community Quarter Store – (Ranger) Giving and Accepting Items clothing, household Items, etc.
Additional Opportunities for Outreach
Posting after posting on social media show the outreach of the citizens of Texas wanting to help. The following are just a few examples from the past couple of days from media, businesses, and individuals:
- Taking monetary donations for fire victims and putting the money “on the books” for them to come get whatever feed or supplies they may need. We are also accepting pet supply donations as well. – H&R Feed and Fertilizer in Ranger, Texas
- The Community Foundation of Abilene has established two funds to collect donations to support people, businesses, and fire departments affected by ongoing fires across the Big Country. – Community Foundation of Abilene.
- In response to the wildfires that have devastated Eastland County and the surrounding communities, we are stationed at the Carbon Volunteer Fire Department with food and water to aide those impacted and assist our first responders. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to our neighbors and all affected by the wildfires. – First Financial Bank Texas
- Volunteers with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Disaster Relief are in Eastland County serving meals to survivors and first responders, as well as supporting a base camp for firefighters in the town of Eastland. – KLST News
- Tolar along with DCBE/Acton, Granbury Volunteer Fire Department, and Pecan Plantation Fire Department, responded as a task force to Eastland county over the past few days. Tolar, Lipan, and Cresson still remain. – Tolar Volunteer Fire Department
- Spring Fire Department Captain Tim Weiman and firefighter Jason Adams headed to Eastland County to assist with the North Texas wildfires. – FOX West Texas
- If you have lost your medication, please do not hesitate to call or come by. We are able to offer emergency fills during this time to ensure medication therapy is not interrupted. – Doc’s Drugstore of Eastland
- There is an urgent need for localized relief in the form of feed, hay, and fencing supplies for our fellow Texans suffering through the Eastland Complex and surrounding area. Our own AgriLife Extension Disaster Assessment and Recovery Team has had boots on the ground since Thursday, working alongside the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team to assist in getting supplies to the people and animals that need our help. Local relief drop off-Gorman Milling Co., Fiber Plant 1200 E. Townsend, Gorman, Texas. 254-485-9193. – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services
- Monetary donations are being coordinated by the Texas Department of Agriculture through their star funding account (via PayPal) at this link. – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services. More information on the STAR fund can be found at this link. – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services
- (Multiple posts regarding found animals.) We have had several more animals brought in by some caring, sweet people. Please share and help us find the owners of these sweet babbies – Lazy 3 Animal Care
- Hay and feed are available at Red Chain Feeds at 302 E. Lubbock St. in Gorman, Texas. All incoming donations will be directed to Red Chain Feeds. Please call Red Chain Feeds at 254-734-2252 to coordinate donations or for more information. – AgriLife Extension – Eastland County
- If you were affected by the fire and are needing essentials, please come by River of Life Church in the fellowship hall. We will be here all day and are ready to start distributing. We have clothes, shoes, blankets, etc. – River of Life Church
- Cattle Exchange in Olden has shelter and hay and pens for cattle, sheep, goats. Call Cattle Exchange at 254-629-2288. – AgriLife Extension – Eastland County
- Lazy 3 Animal Care is available for pets or large animals. Call 254-631-0816. – AgriLife Extension – Eastland County
- The Churches of Christ Disaster Relief is headed to Gorman Church of Christ with a 53-foot trailer of helpful necessities. – Churches of Christ Disaster Relief, Inc.
- An anonymous donor of 150 Johnson grass hay rolls that need hauled to various locations on the eastland fire complex. These are pretty short hauls from Mullin, Texas, area. Donor can load. They stressed it must be absolutely free. Need two semi loads headed to Carbon and one load headed to Cross Plains, and one load headed to Rising Star. Where are my trucker friends. Speak up at grab these short, easy loads. (NOTE: 209 shares and 48 comments came in from truckers willing to assist.) – Erath County Breaking News
- Midland Fire Department sent units to help assist in the Eastland County fires. – ABC Big 2 News – KMID
- Relief efforts are in place on-site through numerous agencies, including the assistance of Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Rangers. Donations of feed and supplies can be delivered from 8am-5pm to Gorman Milling Company/Red Chain Feeds at 1200 E. Townsend in Gorman, Texas. Contact Luke Fritts – 254-485-9193 – Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
- We will be donating hay to the victims of the fires in Eastland County and surrounding areas. If you, or someone you know, are in need of hay for your livestock, give me a call. Quade Griffin at 254-485-7035 – The Hay & Feed Ranch, LLC.
- As an office, we have decided to host donations for first responders of the fires in Eastland County. Talks with the 4-H in Eastland, they are first taking donations for first responders. This includes Gatorade, water, snacks, etc. Donation location is at the Farmer’s Insurance building on the square. – Erath County 4-H
- The North Texas Jeep Club did a drop off. – Eastland County Tx Breaking News
- We are making room for incoming cattle as needed for the ranchers affected by the fires. If you know anyone that needs hay/stall space/cattle hauled, please share adn reach out to 319-240-7449. Colt Tritt has Liquid Feed to donate. – Paragon Cattle Services, LLC
- Shelter locations – Myrtle Wilks Center/Mountain Top Church in Cisco; First Baptist Church gymnasium in Eastland has cots, blankets, and clothing items; FEMA Dome at Selbert Elementary Schoolhttps://www.eastlandisd.net/o/siebert-elementary-school in Eastland
- The Eastland County Girl Scout troop is collecting hygiene items and clothing to give to families effected by the fires. Please contact 254-449-4684 if you need them to pick up items from you. – Eastland County Girl Scout Happenings
- We are organizing the funds needed for a semi-load of 20% cattle cubes to be shipped next week to the cattle producers of the Carbon, Texas, Eastland County area. Wes Avent of Canadian AH&N is assisting. Please contact West 806-898-9931 or Andy Holloway of Canadian, Texas, 325-668-0466 to donate funds for this effort. We need $10,000 for one semi-load, which will be 50 lb. sacks delivered. Their big losses of cattle, rural homes, hay supplies, fences and property. – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Hemphill Co. Ag and Natural Resources
I’m sure I haven’t included every organization that is trying to help out, but it’s a start. As I learn of additional ways to help, I will add them.
I’ve heard many a disparaging mark from people who don’t live in Texas regarding our pride, and what they interpret as arrogance. I have never thought of it that way and I never will. I am thankful for my Texas roots and the satisfaction telling someone I came from Texas instills in me.
I am overwhelmed with pride for this state and its people. They are there for each other when disaster strikes and they always will be there.
Until next time from Texas … safe travels!