Kansans looking for more federal help in wildfire recovery efforts

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Wildfire recovery continues in Kansas, but so many still need so much. After hundreds of thousands of acres were devastated by the fires, Kansans are looking for all the relief they can get. Jeff Jackson he could use more help than what he’s getting.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) says confirming Sonny Perdue to become the next Secretary of Agriculture could help recovery efforts in Kansas.

“I’ve been absolutely overcome with how good people are,” said Jackson.

He’s making it by with a little help from his friends. Jackson says he’s grateful for the support he and his family have received since a wildfire destroyed his home five weeks ago. But, he says, they have received very little outside help.

“It’s a very local effort,” said Jackson. “But we’ve got a long ways to go.”

Jackson says there are acres and acres of land still in need clean up. He says if it remains just a local effort, it will take years.

“We’re hoping that we’re going to be able to clean some of that up,” said Jackson. “Because we live in a beautiful area, it’s just not real pretty in spots right now. Help with that would be nice.”

Jackson hopes some of that help comes from Congress. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) says relief efforts are underway at the federal level.

“You’d always like to have it move quickly, or more quickly, but I think the department response has been pretty good, especially since we don’t have a Secretary of Agriculture down there,” said Roberts.

To help Kansas ranchers in the wake of the fire, the Department of Agriculture is lifting grazing restrictions on lands protected by the Conservation Reserve Program. Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) says this will allow cattle to survive despite the devastation.

“My district is 60 percent dependent upon agriculture, and this particular area is very dependent upon cattle grazing. So this is going to flood over into Main Street in small towns,” said Marshall.

Marshall says he thinks Kansas lawmakers will need to ask for money in the coming months, a request that could be difficult given the current climate on Capitol Hill.

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