Wildfire evacuation plan? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 08-05-2017, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Wildfire evacuation plan?

No, I'm not planning on having to evacuate anytime soon. However, our province is in a drought. We have not had a fire risk this high in 20 years. Rain is coming tonight, and we're hoping it will help, but everything is brittle dry. This just doesn't happen here.

And well, just in case some of you haven't noticed, I'm a bit of a planner. There is a fire raging in a town a couple of hours away. It's a few kms from residential areas, but is considered out of control. This is freaking me out a little. Not that this specific fire can get here, but that a fire can start anywhere, anytime at this point. I'd like to have a plan so I know what to do with my horses should we ever be threatened by a wildfire. Here's the thing: I don't own a horse trailer. I rent one, from a lady who lives about 20 minutes from here, and has her own 3 horses she'd be having to deal with. I have neighbors with one I can borrow in a pinch, but they have 3 horses too. So worst case scenario, if a fire started and I didn't have time to find a trailer I can borrow, what do I do???

My first thought is ride Harley down the road and get him across a fairly wide stream (I would ride on the bridge, but getting him to the other side would provide a break so the fire would hopefully not reach the other side). I could go further and get on the other side of a very wide river that fire cannot possibly cross. But that would be a long ride. Kodak would have to follow us loosely. I could not trust her to be tied to Harley or me. Of course the other option is to open the gates and turn them loose and let them figure it out. Put their halters on with identifying tags. In the event that there is no time to ride out, that would be our only option I suppose.

That brings me to my question: how do you identify animals so that someone standing at a distance from them could immediately see a # to call? There's no guarantee they would let themselves be caught. I'm tempted to paint the phone number on their side using show paint. That stuff will stay on for days. I could use white on Kodak (she's bay) and black on Harley. But it would be worth adding an identifier to their halters or maybe have a collar with identifying information ready to put on quickly? Just in case they do find their way on a farm where someone can get them in an enclosure or are close enough to read the #s.

Sorry if I sound poorly prepared. Wildfires don't happen here. We are in a part of the world that is more soggy than dry, and it is criss-crossed by waterways everywhere. This isn't something we normally worry about.

So for those of you who have lived through this, or are in areas that are at risk, I'd love to hear what your evacuation plan looks like! I mean, other than get the horses in the trailer and drive...
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post #2 of 40 Old 08-05-2017, 08:49 PM
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Can't off suggestions :(

Wish I could send you all the rain we've been having. Raining off and on for a month now more often then not large trees come down with it. Still beats a wildfire though
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post #3 of 40 Old 08-05-2017, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LoveGus View Post
Can't off suggestions :(

Wish I could send you all the rain we've been having. Raining off and on for a month now more often then not large trees come down with it. Still beats a wildfire though
We complained about all the rain in June. Now we wish it was rain instead of hot, dry sun every single day for over a month. Farmers are losing their crops. Fires are erupting. This isn't normal for us. Be grateful for the rain! But I know it comes with its share of problems too. Still better than a fire destroying everything in its path.

For those wondering, I am in New Brunswick. So east, not part of the BC fires. Like I said, this isn't normal for us. We get fog, rain, drizzle... snow. Tons of snow. We know how to deal with that. We don't know how to deal with scorching heat every day.
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post #4 of 40 Old 08-05-2017, 09:34 PM
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Under the threat of serious tornados, a few times, I have taken engine paint and spray painted my cell phone number on both sides of the horses barrels ---- yes I did --- all four of them.

It doesn't hurt them and comes off eventually. Fortunately it was during shedding season so they shed the painted hair off, but I wouldn't have cared ----- I want my horses back and It is also a deterrent for some crook to run them thru the slaughter auction . People would wonder about a horse with a cell phone number painted on it.

When I did live in a high fire area, my truck was never unhooked from the trailer and was aimed at the alley gate. .i also did loading fire drills with my horses once a month----- no kidding on that one either.

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #5 of 40 Old 08-05-2017, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post
Under the threat of serious tornados, a few times, I have taken engine paint and spray painted my cell phone number on both sides of the horses barrels ---- yes I did --- all four of them.

It doesn't hurt them and comes off eventually. Fortunately it was during shedding season so they shed the painted hair off, but I wouldn't have cared ----- I want my horses back and It is also a deterrent for some crook to run them thru the slaughter auction . People would wonder about a horse with a cell phone number painted on it.

When I did live in a high fire area, my truck was never unhooked from the trailer and was aimed at the alley gate. .i also did loading fire drills with my horses once a month----- no kidding on that one either.
Glad to know I'm not crazy for thinking about spray painting my horses! I don't give a you-know-what how long it stays on them if it helps us find them. We don't live in horse country. When my neighbor's horses got out, people knocked on my door, figuring I'd know what to do (I did, and got them all into a safe enclosure). Anyone who isn't horsey doesn't know what to do when they spot equines on their lawn.
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post #6 of 40 Old 08-05-2017, 09:58 PM
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This also freaks me out. I hope that I live close enough to the big cities that any fires are stopped fast, but you can never know. There aren't enough trailer spots for all the horses at the barn. I've got a pretty good idea of which ones would get those spots and they aren't mine.

Are there any trailer rental places nearby that you can swing by in an emergency and pick up? I think in that situation cost doesn't apply too much.

I've heard of those plastic tags you can put info in and clip to halters. Also braiding ID tags into the mane. Spray paint in a pinch with some kind of id/number? Some people have recommended writing on their hooves, but I think that's a terrible idea. First you have to get close enough to a panicked horse's feet to read it, higher chance it'll be washed/rubbed off, and I've written on my horses hooves in the past and the sharpie will get absorbed by a dry hoof immediately.

Keep records, copies of records, and up to date photos. Digitize and cloud if possible.

Practice panic loading? I don't think I could get one of mine on a trailer in the middle of an evacuation. He's so nervous about new things as it is, fire + panic would send him spinning.
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post #7 of 40 Old 08-05-2017, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ApuetsoT View Post
This also freaks me out. I hope that I live close enough to the big cities that any fires are stopped fast, but you can never know. There aren't enough trailer spots for all the horses at the barn. I've got a pretty good idea of which ones would get those spots and they aren't mine.

Are there any trailer rental places nearby that you can swing by in an emergency and pick up? I think in that situation cost doesn't apply too much.

I've heard of those plastic tags you can put info in and clip to halters. Also braiding ID tags into the mane. Spray paint in a pinch with some kind of id/number? Some people have recommended writing on their hooves, but I think that's a terrible idea. First you have to get close enough to a panicked horse's feet to read it, higher chance it'll be washed/rubbed off, and I've written on my horses hooves in the past and the sharpie will get absorbed by a dry hoof immediately.

Keep records, copies of records, and up to date photos. Digitize and cloud if possible.

Practice panic loading? I don't think I could get one of mine on a trailer in the middle of an evacuation. He's so nervous about new things as it is, fire + panic would send him spinning.
Panic loading only works if you have access to a trailer. There are no trailer rentals here. I am renting a trailer from a private individual who knows me well. This is all informal. I can't officially rent a trailer, because there are no companies that offer this service. So unless I have my own, panic loading is moot.
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post #8 of 40 Old 08-05-2017, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
Panic loading only works if you have access to a trailer. There are no trailer rentals here. I am renting a trailer from a private individual who knows me well. This is all informal. I can't officially rent a trailer, because there are no companies that offer this service. So unless I have my own, panic loading is moot.
No local Flamans? That sucks. Guess that's what I get for being in cattle country. Trailer rental shops everywhere.

Would your friend let you take the trailer one day a month to practice?
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post #9 of 40 Old 08-05-2017, 10:14 PM
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ApuestoT. My horses were seasoned haulers and I had already moved three of them clear across the U.S. Five nights of layovers, arriving at dark in strange places and leaving at dawn got them seasoned in a hurry for anything, lol

I lived on SoCal's Low Desert area five years. Once a month fire drills to self load with the command "hurry! Hurry" got them to the point I didn't need to say "hurry" but I did to make myself feel better, lollol

I have since laid my two elders to rest here in Tennessee but I still have the nervous horse of the original three. Thankfully he is the biggest at 16.1H so was the last to load,meeting the entire back of the stock trailer. He would follow the other two off a cliff, so loading him quickly was never an issue. He would jump in, automatically turn diagonal in the trailer, waiting for me to close the big door and tie him.

It takes a lot of practice. I know owners of boarding barns out there (SoCal) always said it was the easy loaders who got first spots on the evacuation trailers. They hated if they had to cut horses loose to fend for themselves during a fire but that is the hazard of not only boarding and not having your own trailer but having a horse that won't instantly load.
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A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #10 of 40 Old 08-05-2017, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ApuetsoT View Post
No local Flamans? That sucks. Guess that's what I get for being in cattle country. Trailer rental shops everywhere.

Would your friend let you take the trailer one day a month to practice?
Sure, but rather pointless if we have to evacuate without a trailer. As I said initially, my concern is not getting my horses on a trailer. My concern is getting out of the area in the event that there is a threatening fire, not a lot of time to leave, and no trailer to be had.
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