SALT LAKE CITY-- Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) has received numerous requests for assistance from livestock owners impacted by the unprecedented string of wildfires. As a result, UDAF announces the activation of an emergency animal feed program in coordination with the Utah Emergency Animal Response Coalition.

The "Animal Feed Fund" account has been established at Wells Fargo Bank, where the public can make cash donations that will be used to purchase for livestock and other animals in need.

In addition, an interactive website, http://www.uearc.org, is now available for the public to make donations and for livestock owners to make requests for assistance. The site is also reachable via www.ag.utah.gov.

"We have established this important fund to help our ranchers and others, who have the ability to feed their animals," said Governor Gary Herbert. "This is an opportunity for Utahns across the state to pitch in and help our livestock owners remain in business and recover from this terrible fire season."

"An estimated 20,000 head of sheep and catrle have had their seasonal rangelands destroyed by fire," said Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food Leonard Blackham.

"The Animal Feed Fund will help ranchers meet their short and long-term food needs."

UEARC (U-ARK) is an authorized 501(c) 3 organization that has been established for some time to care for animals during times of emergencies. One hundred percent of funds donated will be used to feed and care for affected animals.

Members of UEARC include Utah Department of Emergency Management; Humane Society of Utah, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food and various county animal control departments.

UDAF is meeting with various federal, state and local land management leaders to coordinate re-planting of fire-resistant grasses in the impacted areas.