Wild horses rounded up after devastating wildfire

Credit: Theresa Palmgren/KTVB

Wild horses rounded up after devastating wildfire

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by Ty Brennan

KTVB.COM

Posted on August 31, 2010 at 6:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 10:09 PM

GLENNS FERRY, Idaho -- The fast moving Long Butte fire near Hagerman is now 100 percent contained and fire fighting operations are scaling down.  But the trouble isn’t over for close to 200 wild horses.

The Bureau of Land Management did an emergency horse round up Tuesday.

About 307,000 acres of grass and brush were destroyed in the Long Butte Fire.  There are about 200 wild horses that roam the area and BLM has decided to evacuate them.  Not much is left of the grass that these horses rely on for food, that's why officials say this emergency round-up is so important.

“Their home range, or their preferred area as we like to call it, burned a hundred percent in the Long Butte Fire that started about 10 days ago on August 21st,” said Heather Tiel-Nelson, Twin Falls BLM.

The fire charred the land, leaving the herd of horses with very little to eat.

“There are patches of unburned islands, but for the most part there is just not enough forage to support 180 to 200 horses,” said Tiel-Nelson.

With the aid of a helicopter, Ken Crane with BLM says they were able to gently and safely push the horses into waiting corrals.

“The animals will go in naturally, they aren't going to get jammed up and get hurt and they've got big enough pins that they can go in and then settle in and be quiet,” said Crane.

“At this main point BLM's primary objective is to get these horses into food and water and to asses if there are respiratory issues, as far as you know they've been out here inhaling the dust, the smoke the ash, so we want to take a look at that and have a veterinarian take a look at that and reassess their condition of course,” said Tiel-Nelson.

After three different passes with the helicopter, the wild horses were corralled.

The horses will be transported to Boise where they'll either be adopted out or BLM will reassess the situation to see if they can be released back on to public land. 

BLM says they've been sustaining the horses with hay since the fires began a week and a half ago.

This same herd of horses was involved in an emergency gather after a large wildfire in that area in 2005.

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