Cowboy up.

On Monday I wrote about the massive Big Bend/Davis Mountains range fires that began Saturday in West Texas while I was there, endangering a bruised-but-not-beaten Fort Davis, and are still being courageously battled as you read this. Progress is being made, but it’s slow, difficult work, made no easier by the abundance of fuel and high winds.

Tired firefighters still working on it. Photo courtesy of Mike Micallef, of
Alpine’s famed Riata Restaurant (click on photo to enlarge)

This isn’t just a local West Texas story. Texas Monthly Editor Jake Silverstein and I, each of us part-time Big Bend residents, have given media interviews to attest to the importance, beauty, and spirit of the region and its people during this tragedy.

The fires have also brought out the very best in some damn good people, and relief and rescue efforts have moved into full swing, even as the fires are still being fought. Cowboys from Oklahoma have offered to volunteer to drive down with their horses to round up cattle and move them to safer ground. Offers of hay and spare range land have been made, by ranchers, some of whom may not have it to spare.

Veterinarians have offered their services to treat injured animals. Shelters have opened, food and clothing have poured in from all corners, and the area’s hotels and rental resorts in Alpine, Marfa, and Marathon have thrown open their doors to those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed and who need a place to stay. Such a high volume of clothing and canned goods has appeared out of nowhere that area emergency management teams have requested that no more be sent – and said that what they need most is financial assistance. The fire teams need to be re-supplied, and other recovery efforts need to be staffed and supplied as well.

That’s where you come in. Many have asked on Facebook what they can do to help, so here are two recommendations, to benefit those on both two legs and four:

The Jeff Davis County Relief Fund, which is coordinating a little bit of everything (thank you for posting this) Update: now you can contribute online.

Grand Companions Humane Society, which is in Fort Davis, and is helping with displaced, lost, and injured pets.

Here’s a powerful video by area photographer Tanner Quigg, which documents the devastation (viewer discretion advised – some images are disturbing). Tanner is selling his photographs this weekend in Alpine to help raise money for the effort as well.

Please consider pitching in if you can. And if you want updates on the progress, Marfa Public Radio has been doing a bang-up job with regular updates on their website, and the Big Bend Fires Facebook page is a goldmine of information too.



3 Responses to Cowboy up.

  1. cd2a741e-6605-11e0-92fa-000bcdcb5194 April 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    I love this article. I grew up in FD and still have family there, though I live in Austin now. Thank you for your uplifting words, the more voices shouting for help, the more help will come.

    Thank you!

  2. FUBAR April 13, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    Dear cd2a741e-6605-11e0-92fa-000bcdcb5194 (if that is indeed your real name):

    Thank you so much for the kind words, it’s a pleasure to support this important cause.

  3. Lands of Texas for sale September 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    You can’t say enough good things about the many fire departments and local volunteers that courageously battle these wildfires. I just witnessed one yesterday in the Comfort area, Kerr County, Kendall County and Gillespie County all were there and giving it their best along with the Texas Forestry Service. I was very impressed with the entire organization and the skill level of these individuals working so well as a team. It’s a great feeling to know that we have these people to protect the land and those living on it. For all the firefighters and volunteers, thanks for your service.

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