Cattle Rancher Speaks Out After Irish Fire Burns Through Food, Resources Needed For Livestock

AMADOR COUNTY -- Some good news tonight, as the evacuation order at the Irish Fire has been lifted. For the first time, those who live in the Willow Creek Ranch Estates were allowed back in. While no homes were destroyed, other structures and vehicles were.

There has been a lot of progress made on this fire in the past 24 hours. But unfortunately, what's burned is grass land, which may not seem very important to most; but to cattle ranchers it's the very lifeblood of their business.

"This is basically a little trailer that I had tools in and stuff," said William Bullard, a cattle rancher, as he described his property.

Bullard surveys what the Irish fire did to his cattle ranch.

"We thought maybe it might not burn because it was a little more bare like over here where this little bear spot is. But something caught on fire and it took off," stated Bullard.

With a heads-up from a neighbor who spotted the smoke, his family had only an hour or so to load up their animals and belongings before the fire raced across their property.

He moved four of his vehicles away from any trees or structures, leaving them behind in the open.

But the flames destroyed all of them.

"Nothing but metal left, everything. You can see the aluminum rims here melted it was so hot," said Bullard.

Luckily, Bullard's home was saved. His cattle and goats, let loose in the chaos of the approaching fire, have all been accounted for.

Most of the chickens were also spared.

"I think they all got underneath the house and she thinks they're all here expect for one chicken that she knows for sure that's missing," stated Bullard.

However, the hay barn, which housed the rest of the year's food supply to feed those animals is gone.

"As you can see, there's nothing left over there but the tin roof of that also," Bullard said.

And there's another problem.

"All the grass is gone to feed the cows," Bullard stated.

Which means Bullard must now spend money he didn't budget for to feed them and may end up having to get rid of some.

"It's going to be a lot of loans and stuff to buy hay for this upcoming year to keep them going," said Bullard.

Still, he's grateful his home is still standing.

“Well the house still being here, we didn't lose all those memories even though we loaded a lot yesterday. Fortunately, from the neighbor calling us and giving us an hour head start before the fire blew over here and got us," said Bullard.

The Irish Fire is currently 80 percent contained.