Kansas rancher Mike McCarty says the wildfire outbreak in March only compounded the financial strain he was already under. The historic drought in the Central Plains a few years ago had forced him to reduce his herd, tighten his belt and pray for rain.
Rain finally came and poured renewed optimism into western Kansas for the past two years. Early wheat fields were coming out of dormancy, and some pastures were ready to re-enter the grazing rotation. He had just started rebuilding his herd to pre-drought levels.
But on March 6, 2017, everything changed. McCarty's story is one of physical risk, heartbreaking worry and unwavering resilience.
Click below to view his story:
This article is part of ongoing coverage of the High Plains wildfires, and is an expanded story from "Out of the Fires" from the May issue of Drovers.