SFA Beef Center manager says hay donations for Pandhandle on hold for now

SFA Beef Center manager says hay donations for Pandhandle on hold for now
Hay bales (Source: KTRE Staff)
Hay bales (Source: KTRE Staff)
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - Wildfires in the panhandle have led to four deaths and destroyed an estimated 750 square miles of land.

On Tuesday, Stephen F. Austin State University's Beef Center said there is a pause on sending those donations to the Panhandle.

The center has been accepting donations from the area. They said the hold comes after a North Texas representative said there isn't enough space in certain areas to house hay bales.

Chris Koffskey, a manager at the center, said it's good to see the camaraderie among ranchers at a time like this.

"It does. It makes us feel good, but, also we know that if we were ever in that situation here, then there would be people lining up to do the same to help this area out," Koffskey said.

News of this devastation has spread across our region, and two ranchers found a way to lend a hand.

"As soon we got there, you could smell the fire. You could smell the burnt," said Kyle Smith.

Smith and his friend, Dillon Tobias, made the trip up to the Panhandle over the weekend after seeing the devastation their fellow ranchers were experiencing.

"We drove through the night, and as we started getting closer, even 20-30 miles before we were even getting close to the staging area, you could smell smoke," Tobias said. "It was chilly, so we had the windows up, but you could smell it through the truck."

As hay donations are pouring in not only from across Texas, but neighboring states as well, the two East Texans along with seven other people packed up 43 bales of hay and headed to North Texas.

After they returned, these ranchers said there is still need for help. Smith and Tobias plan to make a trip again by the end of the week.

The beef center said its trip with hay will resume at the same time. They are still accepting donations.

"It's not about us. If we can do anything, we want to let people know that these guys still need help," Tobias said.

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