Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pray for Rain: Western Wildfires & WI Fire Risk

In Colorado and other western states, horse owners are desperate to evacuate their families, including the four-legged members. However, many don't have trailers, or any place to take the horses. Even if they do, it's hard to evacuate horses and feed while you're worried about your children. Shifts in wind and the terrifying speed of the wildfires often give people only minutes to escape. Wildfires can travel faster than a horse can run, and with flames leaping hundreds of feet into the sky, the fires can jump rivers and ditches with terrifying ease. Articles here and here.

(That's not snow, that's ash.)

In Colorado alone, wildfires have burned through 100,000 acres. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated. Although the human death toll is low right now, the animal death toll is much higher. Even when horses live and are lucky enough to be evacuated, feeding them is a major problem. As I mentioned in another blog, Texas and other western states have endured a many-months-long drought, leaving them with little hay. Colorado, one of the few western states with adequate hay production, was deluged with out-of-state hay buyers this spring, driving up prices and making hay scarce for locals.

Burned and battered, but alive.

If you have any spare cash, please consider sending it west. If you don't, send prayers and good thoughts. I'll post links below to Colorado horse rescues, humane societies and other organizations. However, Colorado is not the only state experiencing drought. Most of Wisconsin has gotten only 6-12 inches of rain in the last 90 days, and the lower fourth of the state is now officially classified as being in a mild drought (click the pictures below to enlarge). It's mild now, but another couple of weeks with no rain, and we're in trouble. With the drought comes increased fire danger.

This means no barbeques, no tossing your cigarette in the grass, no controlled burns, no trash burning and no fireworks! The lower half of Wisconsin is listed as having "high" or "very high" fire danger. You can see daily updates of fire restrictions and danger levels in your area here on the DNR website.

Wisconsin has already experienced several large grass fires, including this one that shut down a major highway. Even a small ember can start a major fire. You may think, "That can't happen here," but do you really want to take a chance? DO NOT use fire outside. Your actions might result in the deaths or homelessness of your neighbors.

Ways to Help Colorado Equine Fire Refugees*:

A Facebook page where you can post if you have available temporary accommodations for refugee horses, and a good place to find organizations that need donations:


Rescue to Rescue Equine Aid Mission:

Larimer Humane Society:

Pikes Peak Humane Society:

Black Forest Animal Sanctuary:

*Please note that I've not had time to check each of these organizations for fiscal responsibility or good practices. Also, although some organizations have been able to update their pages to reflect their needs, others have not had time-- contacting them personally is the best way to find out what, if anything, they need most right now.

KG and the Ranger: "Dust." Oh Lord please ease my pain / oh Lord please send your rain

1 comment:

  1. Been there, we were evacuated. The fire was rolling down our hill/mountain 2 miles away. When we returned home, I went and volunteered to muck stalls for 4 hours at Norris Penrose, where the evactuated horses were kept. It was pretty awful. Colorado has had it's share of beat downs this year. Best of luck for WI.