Ranchers devastated by Soda Fire get help from Boise community

A family ranch in Owyhee County that serves as a vendor to the Boise Co-op and Boise Farmer’s Market has lost significant rangeland after the Soda Fire scorched more than 430 square miles of public and private lands.

The Boise community is responding with a GoFundMe page to raise money to help the ranch.

The Wilsey family ranch, from Homestead Natural Foods, graze their cattle on ranglelands that were destroyed by the Soda Fire. The family also lost 250 tons of hay because of the blaze, said Janie Burns, president of the board for the Boise Farmers Market.

“All of (Ed Wilsey’s) range that he has available to him has been burned over,” Burns said.

It could take up to 3 years for the range to recover, she said.

That’s why the Co-op and Farmers Market are working together to raise money for the Wilseys so they can purchase hay to keep their livestock alive, Burns said.

The Co-op issued a release stating they would match every dollar in donations from members, owners up to $10,000 to get the ranch back on track. Contributors can donate at Co-op registers or to the GoFundMe page with a note that they are a member or owner.

As of 9 p.m. Sunday, the page saw about $16,800 in donations. The goal is $50,000, which would replace the hay lost in the fire.