CARBON, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – With fires ripping through Carbon, Texas, last week, destroying thousands of acres of farmland, it has left ranchers without hay bales to feed their cattle. However, one Carbon family is using their land as a donation site for ranchers in need.

For the Hogan family, loading hay bales onto a trailer had never been as important as the morning of March 18th. It was the morning after Eastland County fires burned through the town of Carbon, Texas.

Cattle rancher Shelby Hogan said she remembers watching the flames come over the tree line as she scrambled to gather her family’s irreplaceable items, herd her cattle into the barn and pack their bags to evacuate.

She and her husband plowed and watered their yard, minutes before the flames touched their property, saving their home and barn from the heat of fires.

“We can’t just sit here,” Hogan said “We have to help.” 

Hogan called her family “blessed by the grace of God” that their home was intact, and knew the morning after, their neighbors and community members weren’t as fortunate.

Black angus cattle in burnt pasture, Carbon, Texas

“We can stockpile hay here. We can stockpile feed,” Hogan said. “We’re cattle people, that’s what we know. We take care of our animals, take care of our cattle, and take care of each other.” 

Even though the land surrounding their house was burned, they began using space across County Road 411 as a donation site, posting the location on Facebook and asking for any donations or contributions.

“Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the hay was going out just as fast as it was coming in.” Hogan said.

They received hundreds of hay bales, square bales, feed and water all to be donated to ranchers in need. People brought trailers full of hay bales from Oklahoma all the way to East Texas, just to lend a hand to those Carbon ranchers who lost almost everything.

The fires destroyed any hay bales in the surrounding area, and with a drought in effect since October, ranchers had no way of feeding their animals.

Burning hay bales, Carbon, Texas

“Nobody has grass, it’s all burnt,” Hogan said. “This is the only way we’re going to be able to feed our cattle until June.” 

Without more donations, though, the few hundred hay bales the Hogan’s have on their land won’t last for long.

However, as long as people continue to donate, Shelby Hogan said they won’t stop until everyone’s needs are met.

“We’re here to help. Anything we can do, we’re going to do it,” Hogan said. “We don’t have a, “we’re ending on this day.” As long as the need is there, we’re going to be here.” 

Hogan said the all of the donations truly define what agriculture means in Texas and said it takes the phrase “Texas Strong” to a new level.

If you are in the Carbon/Gorman area and are in need of hay bales or feed, you can find more information on the Hogan’s operation and others in the area on the Central Texas Fire Relief – Farm and Ranch Facebook page.