So far, the fires have scorched more than 630-thousand acres…much of it pasture and rangeland. That means the plants…or forage…that ranchers were relying on to provide food for their animals has been destroyed.
"It’ll take about 3 years for that forage to recover back to the productivity levels that we had before the fire."
Mel George is a rangeland specialist with UC Davis. He says ranchers will probably have to pay extra for feed.
"They’re going to have to find other acres to graze on or buy hay and hay is really expensive already because of the drought."
George says they may also have to reduce their herds to deal with the dwindling pasture land.