Fire-Safety: Horse Style - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 03-14-2013, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Pacific NW
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Fire-Safety: Horse Style

First, I'd like to point out that this is coming from the perspective of someone living not too far from the most wildfire-prone area of the entire United States. When someone mentions being prepared for fires around here, we're not talking about barn or house fires. We're talking about wildfires that spread hundreds/thousands of feet in the matter of a few minutes and that you cannot outrun or get away from. We're talking about the need for preparing your home and property for a fire coming to you, as well as how to get out if it does. There is plenty of information about personal evacuation, but I attended a meeting last night where the I can best describe the speaker's job as a "horse environmentalist" and educates others on how to best care for their horses when taking the environment into account. Last night's subject was how to be fire-wise with horses, something that apparently does not receive a lot of attention in the US. Even living in the most wild-fire prone area of the US, it was surprising to realize how little I knew about what to do if my horses were threatened by a wildfire.

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post #2 of 2 Old 03-14-2013, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 1,320
• Horses: 2
I've got to be quick and will post more detailed information later, but the basic steps you need to take are:

1) Defend your home:
Create "defensible space" through landscaping and avoiding fire hazards.
Take special care to defend highly-flammable items, such as hay, so that the fire cannot spread to them easily, and so that if an ember (they can travel up to a mile) catches them on fire, it won't spread.
Use fire-resistent fencing and structures if at all possible, such as metal panels and especially roofs.

2) Have a plan:
Do you have heat-resistant and fire-safe halters? (They have to be made of natural animal products like leather or wool, or they will melt!)
Can your horses load quickly?
If you don't have enough trailer space for your horses, what will you do? Can a neighbor pick them up? Do you have a large "fire-safe" area you can leave them in and hope for the best, like a sand arena, dry-lot, or overgrazed pasture?
Where will you take your horses?
How will someone identify them if they need to? (You won't want to leave tack on in case they get caught - writing your phone number on their hoof is the recommended plan of action by BLM services)
If at all possible, DO NOT just turn your horses loose! The majority of people will not know what to do with scared horses!

I'll explain more later, but those are the basics...
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