Horses and Livestock Evacuate Wildfires

Wildfires Cause Local Communities to Come Together in Time of Need
Taken by Becky Burger

With Oregon in flames, the local community has been coming together to help. Many barns and local fairgrounds have opened their places for those needing to evacuate their horses. 

This year has been an extremely crazy year, from COVID-19 to huge wildfires rampaging through Oregon. Many people and families have had to evacuate their areas. Though the communities around here are mostly rural, many have been affected because they have their own farm animals or horses. 

Those in the level one evacuation areas started loading up horses and livestock in order to leave in time because it can be a long process. It is better to load early and get them to a safe area than to wait last minute and end up endangering the horses. 

Many, however, don’t have the capacity or resources on hand to be able to evacuate all their animals. Which is why Akin’s Trailers in Harrisburg has been graciously loaning livestock/horse trailers to anyone who needs it. Currently, they said that they are still lending trailers because some are able to return home and need help moving back. 

Becky Burger has been tag teaming with a few people to go back and forth loading and evacuating horses and a lot of livestock to a safer area. She has ten horses right now safely residing at her barn but has been continuously going since Tuesday, Sept. 8, loading animals from all areas. Now she said that they have been helping take a few of the livestock or horses homeward. 

Jenny Strooband at the Linn-Benton Community College Horse Center is actively involved in taking in horses and has also been a big help for the local communities. They have taken in a handful of horses from places affected by the fires such as Scio, Mill Creek and Estacada. She said that though they have been helping out as much as they can, that there are literally hundreds of others who have dropped everything and stepped up to help in one way or another. She also said that though there have been quite a few articles calling them heros, they are just doing their part to help out in any way possible. 

Another small barn on Ra-El Farms in Tangent has also begun taking in animals. Lisa Tuttle, the barn manager, said that starting Sept. 8 at 2 a.m. she was on-call for anyone who needed help evacuating their horses. They now have three horses at their barn, from Scio and Mill Creek. The 4-H group based at Ra-El Farms has also been helping out at the local fairgrounds. 

Of course this is but a few examples of the locals who have been actively helping out in any way possible. To also just name a few, Benton County, LBCC and Linn County have all opened up their facilities, and people who aren’t even necessarily animal/ livestock people have volunteered. 

There is still work yet to be done and help is desperately needed. Reach out to your local community and see if there is anything you can help out with! 

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