Water Wrights Logo

Fresno State & the Creek Fire September 25, 2020

By  Jackie  TaylorGer Bennett BannerOn a very smoky September 14th I made my way through the hustle and bustle of Shaw avenue to visit my alma mater, California State University, Fresno. Once I got past the online surveys, red tape, and a thermal check by campus PD, I made sure to mask up as I headed for the campus farm. I pulled into my usual spot and met with the beef unit herdsman, Trevor Autry.  I was greeted by a cutie named Bailey, who wagged her tail anxiously as I sat in the dusty office.Conterra

Today’s topic wasn’t the annual bull sale or the latest calf count, it was the dreaded Creek Fire. Thankfully, Fresno State opened its facilities to a select number of families who needed to evacuate their livestock. What was once just a pasture of Charolais and Angus, now speckled with Crossbreds, Shorthorns, and the occasional Red Angus. Made possible by student volunteers and community donations, several herds of cattle had to be moved to the Fresno State farm, where they happily escaped the smoky conditions and the flames.

Among those that were herded to Fresno State included a herd of goats, mules, horses, and several hundred cattle. Although some have been returned to their owners, several animals remain in the numerous pastures and panels at Fresno State. The animals are being fed hay from the school’s one-hundred acre farm with the exception of various donations. The number of animals has not been a challenge for the beef unit, but the ashy water and pasture rotations are slightly harder to keep up with these days. I was warned to change my own livestock’s trough daily because water with ash can create lye and other cocktails of unpalatable poisons, ultimately killing livestock with a prolonged exposure.

After my visit to the pastures and the numerous pictures of the evacuees, I made my way across the parking lot to the Quarter Horse unit. This unit always impresses me because of the students’ dedication to working, bathing, and birthing quality Quarter Horses. This year they are reporting the   largest foaling ever, with 8 new freshly weaned foals running around. They acquired eight horses during the Creek Fire and they are also in awe of all of the donations and support from the community. The twenty-five horses who call the unit home have been enjoying the new whinnies of their pals. Sarah reports that although many classes are not meeting in person through the rest of 2020, the horses still receive a lot of love from student employees and community onlookers, who are advised to look and not touch the animals.

It wouldn’t be a Water Wrights report if we didn’t mention water, would it? Fresno State’s farm relies on flood irrigation from the Fresno Irrigation District (FID) and seasonal rains. They flood irrigate with their allowance from FID and maintain their pastures with the most sustainable methods possible, including community partnerships and student research. Although this year’s water supply was cut off a little early, the campus farm appears to be teeming with new life and new temporary visitors from the affected wildfire areas.

DISCLAIMER OF RESPONSIBILITY; Waterwrights strives to provide his clients with the most complete, up-to-date, and accurate information available. Nevertheless, Waterwrights does not serve as a guarantor of the accuracy or completeness of the information provided, and specifically disclaims any and all responsibility for information that is not accurate, up-to-date, or complete.  Waterwrights’ clients therefore rely on the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of information from Waterwrights entirely at their own risk. The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not represent any advertisers or third parties.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2020 by WaterWrights.net/DAW

Jackie Taylor is WaterWrights.net’s social media director. She can be contacted at waterwrights.jackie@gmail.com

More Articles

Friant Water Authority October 22, 2020

The Friant Water Authority held its board of directors meeting remotely from Visalia on Thursday, October 22, 2020 by Webex. Friant’s staff and management...

Fresno Irrigation District October 20, 2020

The Fresno Irrigation District held its board of directors meeting at its Fresno headquarters on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 remotely from its Fresno headquarters...

Westlands Water District October 20, 2020

The Westlands Water District held its board of directors meeting on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 remotely from its Fresno headquarters by Zoom. I’ve come...

A Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

Gar Bennett



Water Assurance Partners


Western Power

Kaweah Pumps



Exeter Irrigation

Santa Clara Valley Water District

Willitts Pump

Harris Farms