Mid-Missouri unites to help ranchers after Oklahoma wildfires

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COLUMBIA — The Central Missouri Wildfire Relief Convoy is dedicating its Easter weekend to bringing supplies to Oklahomans left with very little to nothing after a devastating wildfire.

According to Oklahoma Forestry Services, the Starbuck fire burned 464,308 acres in Kansas and 198,379 acres in Oklahoma, destroying numerous houses and buildings and killing livestock.

Courtney Thompson, one of the group founders, said helping others was the best way to spend her Easter weekend.

“We get to be able to sit there and be with them and take them supplies and that’s what this is all about,” Thompson said. “People have been praying for us and praying for them and we are fortunate to be able to have a weekend to be able to go out and do that, it’s a family time and they are our family. The agricultural community is a family.”

The convoy includes around a dozen people riding in two 18-wheelers, two flat bed trailers and an SUV.

The vehicles will carry relief supplies for the agricultural communities impacted by the wildfire in Oklahoma.

The group is delivering around 100 round bales of hay and around two miles of fencing, clothes and household items for ranchers.

People donated the hay from all across Missouri, and community members along with local groups, such as Sigma Alpha and MU Independent Aggies, helped raise money to buy the supplies.

Whitney Perry, a volunteer with the Central Missouri Wildfire Relief Convoy, found a way to raise money through a hobby out of her own home.

“I came up with the fire relief decal and I’ve sold I think 91 of them so far and I had several donations along with that,” Perry said. “I shipped them out all throughout the United States and I was able to purchase a full pallet of barbed wire to take down and deliver myself, which is super important and very rewarding.”

Volunteer David Thompson said they will keep making trips as long as they have supplies and funding.

“You could sit at home and have Easter with just your family, but they’re running out of supplies as we speak,” Thompson said. “And so if we don’t just keep going even thought the holidays they eventually are going to run out and that’s the last thing we wanted.”

The group was created in response to the fire, and this is their second relief trip in the past two months.

The volunteers are already planning another trip to deliver more hay and supplies near the end of May or beginning of June.

To donate you can go to the Central Missouri Wildfire Relief Convoy website and click on the donate link.