Wildfires: Preparation and Evacuation Tips for Horse Owners

Wildfires are terrifying natural phenomena, but horse owners can take steps to protect their horses, facilities, and themselves in advance.
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Wildfires: Preparation and Evacuation Tips for Horse Owners
Wildfires are terrifying natural phenomena, but horse owners can take steps to protect their horses, facilities, and themselves in advance. | Photo: Photos.com

Do you live in an area at risk for wildfires? If so, it’s time to take steps to help minimize wildfire’s impact on your horses. Take heed even if your area hasn’t seen a wildfire for 15 years or longer; the El Nino weather patterns could increase the chance of dry conditions and, thus, fires in areas that haven’t been impacted in many years.

It’s not necessarily a wildfire’s flames that will initially force your and your horses’ evacuation. Rather, it’s the thick black smoke filled with toxins, along with poor air quality, that will begin having an impact well before the flames arrive. Horses have large lungs and no way to filter out smoke and fire’s toxic byproducts—including acrid smoke and tiny particles—and can develop serious health issues even when smoke is several miles away.

To help you prepare in advance, we’ll review some simple steps you can take to make farms as safe and evacuations as seamless as possible

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Written by:

Rebecca Gimenez Husted, BS, PhD, is the primary instructor and president of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. Her first book, Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, was published in 2008. She is an internationally sought instructor in technical rescue techniques, procedures, and methodologies, and she has published numerous critiques, articles and journal submissions on horse safety, technical large animal rescue and horse handling issues.

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