Farm Progress

34 Complex Fire reduces family home to ashes but not the human spirit

Family loses home. Drop-off locations set up to help producers in need.

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

May 4, 2018

17 Slides

While the 34 Complex Fire and Rhea Fire in western Oklahoma may have reduced some homes and livestock to ashes, they did not destroy the human spirit. OSU Extension offices have set up eight drop-off locations throughout Woodward and Dewey counties where countless donations of feed, hay and other supplies are being collected and distributed for producers in need. 

Combined the two fires consumed nearly 350,000 acres in the neighboring Oklahoma counties. Homeowners Al and Joann Comstock lost their two-story farmhouse in the 34 Complex Fire April 19. 

“We lost our house and garage shed but we saved the barn. We lost a few cows but most of our cows survived. We’re ok...everybody is ok,” says Al, who was headed to Stillwater with his wife when they got the call. “We arrived in Stillwater and they said the house was going to burn so we turned around and came back.

“It’s tough.”

See Supplies needed for Oklahoma wildfire recovery effort, transportation of donations big need as well.

To donate or to request agricultural-related products, contact the OSU Hay Hotline at:

  • 405-397-7912

  • 405-590-0106

  • 405-496-9329

Monetary donations may also be sent to:

  • Oklahoma Cattleman’s Foundation-, 405-235-4392, P.O. Box 82395, Oklahoma City, OK 73148. *

  • Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Foundation-, 2501 N. Stiles, Oklahoma City, OK 73105. *

  • Oklahoma Farmers Union Foundation- P.O. Box 24000, Oklahoma City, OK 73124.*

*If writing a check, make the check payable to the organization’s name with “Fire Relief” in the memo line.

Educational resources detailing everything from the proper ways to dispose of dead livestock to post-wildfire home cleanup and post-disaster safety are available through each OSU Cooperative Extension county office, and online at

To connect with other ranchers and resources and to learn about wildfires throughout the U.S., go to 2017-2018 Wildfire & Disaster Relief Info: USA nationwide Ag Community, a Facebook group spearheaded by eastern Oklahoma ranchers Caleb and Melanie Pennebaker.

See, Oklahoma fires leave houses in ashes, kill livestock.


About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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