The last paragraph of the BLM “news” release below states that the BLM is “considering” a roundup of the wild horses, but that only “some” of them will be returned to the range. Will the BLM suspend AUMs for livestock grazing if there “simply isn’t enough unburned forage to sustain” the wild horses? Or will the BLM only remove the wild horses? – Debbie
Young horse from Sands Basin (photo: BLM)
BLM Monitors Status of Wild Horses Impacted by Soda Fire
BOISE –The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) continues to actively monitor the status of the wild horses in the Sands Basin and Hardtrigger Herd Management Areas (HMA). The Sands Basin HMA is located about 13 miles southwest of Homedale and the Hardtrigger HMA is south of the Snake River between Murphy and U.S. 95 to the West – both HMAs are managed by the Owyhee Field Office.
The 265,000 acre Soda Fire has burned much of the Sands Basin (11,724 acres) and Hardtrigger (60,961 acres) HMAs. Boise District Wild Horse Specialist Steve Leonard flew over the areas yesterday and counted at least 60 horses milling near Jump Creek in the Sands Basin Herd Management Area (HMA) in an unburned area. BLM staff will haul supplemental hay to these horses today, as there was not enough unburned forage to sustain them.
Additionally, there are 170 horses in the Hardtrigger HMA, and many of them are roaming in unburned areas within the HMA. It looks as though there is enough unburned forage to sustain the Hardtrigger horses at this time.
Due to the severe and erratic nature of the fire, it is likely there will be some horses with injuries incurred as they tried to escape the fire. All gates have been opened and fences cut so horses could move out of the way of the fire. However, one horse has been humanely euthanized as it had sustained fatal wire injuries.
BLM is considering an emergency wild horse gather to ensure the health and well-being of the horses for the long-term. There simply isn’t enough unburned forage to sustain them through the winter. Some of the horses will be taken to the Boise Wild Horse Corrals to be cared for until the range recovers and they can be returned to their HMAs.