Farm Bureau donates $61,300 to rural Oklahoma fire departments

Stepping outside in Oklahoma right now is like walking through a tinder box of impossibly dry grass, cedar trees filled with extremely flammable resin and high winds that have started a fire in the snap of a finger. Many of the wildfires this year had started in rural areas and burned for days, threatening homes, livestock and livelihoods, with volunteer fire fighters battling the blazes through canyons and ravines.

The Oklahoma Farm Bureau Fire Department Matching Program has seen the constant fire danger the current drought has created and donated $61,300 to multiple rural fire departments in the state.

This program is a partnership among the OKFB, the OKFB Foundation of Agriculture and OKFB Insurance. The donations are matched by county Farm Bureaus to local fire departments in the amount of $450.

“Oklahoma farmers and ranchers—many of whom are volunteer firefighters themselves—understand the importance of rural fire departments during an intense drought,” said David VonTungeln, president of the OKFB Foundation for Agriculture. “We hope the funds donated will provide some relief to our local firefighters in the form of food, water or supplies.”

According to OKFB, 47 county Farm Bureau organizations participated in the program, donating varying amounts to their local fire departments. Comanche County Farm Bureau led the charge with a total donation of $20,000. The counties that participated in the program included: Beaver, Jackson, Oklahoma, Blaine, Kay, Okmulgee, Caddo, Kingfisher, Osage, Choctaw, Kiowa, Ottawa, Comanche, Latimer, Pawnee, Craig, LeFlore, Payne, Creek, Lincoln, Pottawatomie, Dewey, Logan, Pushmataha, Custer, Major, Rogers, Ellis, Marshall, Roger Mills, Garfield, McCurtain, Texas, Grant, McIntosh, Tillman, Greer, Murray, Washington, Harper, Noble, Washita, Haskell, Nowata, Woodward, Hughes and Okfuskee.

Lacey Vilhauer can be reached at 620-227-1871 or [email protected].