NEAR WINTHROP, Wash. -- It’s been an emotional week for ranchers in the North Cascade fire zone. Many have lost dozens, possibly hundreds, of cows and are having to put the severely burned animals out of their misery.
Large animal veterinarians like Dr. Betsy Devin-Smith have spent the last several days inspecting the herds and helping ranchers find and treat the burned cattle.
"They’re mostly burned on their hooves and burned right on the soles and then some singeing up the legs and on the belly and udder,” said Dr. Devin-Smith.
Ranchers lost anywhere from a half dozen cattle to hundreds in the fires that have scorched much of the North Cascade grazing lands. The fire was so intense it burned many grass lands to the roots.
The plants won’t grow back for up to two years. Ranchers will have to find other pastures for their surviving herds.