Capital Press

As cattlemen and forest landowners in south central Washington clean up after a January ice storm, they have turned to their county, state and federal representatives for help.

Klickitat County was particularly hard-hit, with about 350 miles of fence down or damaged and between 5 million and 10 million board-feet of timber on the ground, which cattleman Jack Field called a "forced harvest."

A federal disaster declaration was confirmed in February for 11 counties surrounding Klickitat, Field said.

Neil Kayser, a rancher in Centerville, said the fences need to be repaired before cattle can be turned out to summer pasture.

"If we can get some assistance, that would be great, but we'll do it one way or the other," he said. "We're down to crunch time."

Jeremy Grose, inventory forester at SDS Lumber Co. in Bingen, said between 10,000 and 20,000 acres were affected across a half-million-acre area.

"The damage is patchy and isolated, but where it occurred it's pretty extreme," he said.

Landowners have met with the Washington Department of Natural Resources seeking salvage permits. They also asked members of the state's congressional delegation to seek federal assistance.

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