Ranchers Lose Over 100,000 Acres of Cattle Grazing Land in Goose Creek Fire

Aug 1, 2018, 7:05 PM | Updated: 9:28 pm

GROUSE CREEK – In his small ranching community, Jay Tanner raises about 1,000 head of cattle. Just days ago, he feared many of them might have been lost, as fire rolled through large pieces of land they were grazing on.

“I was expecting to find a lot of dead and damaged cattle,” Tanner said. “To me, it’s miraculous that they survived.”

As he first stepped onto the scorched land Sunday, he was pleased to find only one charred carcass. He now however faces a big problem going forward, along with several other ranchers along in northwest Box Elder County, and just across the Nevada state line.

Jay Tanner

“I’ve had a lot of people say, ‘well I’m sure glad that even though it was such a large fire, there wasn’t any damage,'” Tanner started. “Well there is damage. It’s affecting my livelihood.”

A large area that Tanner used for summer grazing is now gone. He says it will take at least two years for the area to be rehabilitated, an effort he says ranchers, the Bureau of Land Management, and others will take part in. In the meantime, about ten ranchers will have to find other ways to feed their cattle.

“It’s not easy to find more grazing resources, especially in a year like this, when much of the state, and much of the west is in a pretty severe drought,” Tanner said. “It’s too soon to know for sure what we’ll do.”

Still, Tanner says he’s certain something will work out.

“I’ve already had people from all around, contacting me about how they can help,” Tanner said. “Made me feel good to know that that many people care about us.”

In the meantime, he’s just grateful the damage wasn’t worse, and that his cattle are still alive.

“In my mind, it’s been a miracle and a blessing for us that we haven’t experienced greater livestock losses,” Tanner said. “We’ve been really blessed so far.”

 Scorched land in an area that Tanner would normally use for his cattle to graze during the summer. Jay Tanner Tanner’s cattle are now gathered in a grazing area usually set aside for the winter months.

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Ranchers Lose Over 100,000 Acres of Cattle Grazing Land in Goose Creek Fire