Develop an Evacuation Plan for Your Horse Property
By Alayne Blickle
Wildfire can quickly become a threat to rural landowners. Since most horse owners live in the interface between urban and rural areas, action needs to be taken quickly to save the lives of your animals and reduce property damage. Being proactive is the safest and best plan.
Fires on horse properties can have different causes – barn fires, hazardous materials spills, lightning strikes, or wildfire spreading. All may require emergency evacuation. When living in a dry, flammable environment it is imperative that you are prepared to quickly move your horses to a safe area. Fire travels rapidly, especially when wind is involved.
If a wildfire breaks out in your area, decide quickly whether you need to leave. Late evacuation is a deadly option, risking loss of lives and property. If you are unprepared or wait until the last minute to evacuate, you could be told by emergency officials to leave your horses behind.
Once you leave your property, you have no way of knowing how long you will be kept out of the area. If left behind, your horses could be unattended for days without care, food, or water. If you decide to stay and actively defend your property from fire, be aware of the risks.
Everyone’s situation differs according to the size and nature of their horse enterprise. Therefore, every horse owner needs to develop an individual evacuation plan before hot weather and fire season arrive. Begin your planning with these tips:
The Horses for Clean Water website has additional firewise information on reducing wildfire risk on your property or for evacuation planning with horses: www.horsesforcleanwater.com/firewise-emergency-preparedness
It’s easy to think wildfires only happen to other people, but this kind of thinking can lead to tragic consequences. Don’t wait until an evacuation to start planning. Act now to prepare a firewise plan for your horse property.
This June join Alayne Blickle to learn more about wildfire preparedness and other topics:
Online Class––June 4, 6 – 7 PM, (Pacific) Composting Horse Manure. Register at
Saturday, June 9 from 9 AM–12 PM
Workshop & Tour: Building a Riding Arena
Cle Elum, WA
Saturday, June 9, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
CLASS: Firewise for Horse Owners, Registration or questions: [email protected]
Cle Elum, WA
Sunday, June 10, noon to 2 pm
Farm Tour: Horse Keeping Cle Elum Style! Registration or questions: [email protected]
Maple Valley, WA
Thursday, June 14, 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Farm Tour: Super Simple Horse Keeping
Alayne Blickle, a life-long equestrian and educator, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, nationally acclaimed environmental education program that “wrote the book” on caring for horses and land. Known for her enthusiastic, fun and down-to-earth approach, she is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horses and livestock owners for over 20 years. Alayne teaches and travels throughout North America and abroad, and also runs Sweet Pepper Ranch, an eco-sensitive guest ranch and horse motel in Southwestern Idaho where she and her husband raise top-notch reining horses and beautiful grass hay. For more information contact Alayne at [email protected] or 206-909-0225.