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Cattle rancher loses more than 50 cows in panhandle fire

Panhandle fires
Posted at 5:40 PM, Feb 29, 2024

WACO, Texas — Dozens of local firefighters are up in the panhandle battling wildfires.

25 News spoke to one cattle rancher in the panhandle area who lost more than 50 cows — and could lose more. 

Richard Wells, a fifth generation cattle rancher, lost at least 50 head of cattle to the wild land fire and could lose 20 to 30 more.

“If I tear up bear with me — when you work all your life, it’s like a kid that got killed. I don’t know how else to say it," Wells said.

The fire came so quickly he couldn’t save everything.

“When we got there it was already on us, so I went back to the house and it was jumping the highway,” he said.

He and firefighters kept the fire away from his home by hosing his house with water.

In one picture a baby calf is standing next to the dead mother.

Wells says now he’s trying to save the babies.

“Twenty-five baby calves are still alive and they can’t nurse — they're babies — so I put them on a bottle to try and save them," Wells said.

"The 4-H kids came to help, and I sent three home with the high school principal they’re going to try and raise three.”

Wells is thankful for the people from miles and miles away that are coming with fencing, hay and helping hands.

“If everyone has a giving heart, we’ll get through this some way," Wells said.

Wells said it was starting to rain when we talked to him, so hopefully better days are ahead for the panhandle after this tragedy.