Horse News

BLM rounds up 300 wild horses from 3 HMAs after Soda Fire (35 wild horses died)

The BLM claims it will return 200 out of the 300 wild horses rounded up from 3 HMAs.  (Note that Sands Basin “maintains” only 70 wild horses, and Black Mountain “maintains” only 80 wild horses.  These are NOT viable herd numbers to begin with.)  BLM claims that 100 out of the 300 removed will either go to adoption or holding facilities.   35 wild horses died in the fire and “aftermath.”  My guess is (this is the same old story in the case of fires) – the rain will begin in a month or so, and new grass will be seen all over the burned areas, and after the first few blades of grass pop up, the livestock will be grazing away in perpetuity.  Meanwhile, many wild horses were permanently removed from their HMAs.  – Debbie


BLM gathers 300 wild horses after fire destroys habitat


Just over two weeks ago, the Soda Fire sparked and quickly grew to more than 283,000 acres. The massive wildfire devastated habitat for a number of wildlife species throughout Owyhee County, and it tore through three Wild Horse Herd Management Areas. (Photo:

by Emily Valla, KTVB

OWYHEE COUNTY, Idaho — Just over two weeks ago, the Soda Fire sparked and quickly grew to more than 283,000 acres. The massive wildfire devastated habitat for a number of wildlife species throughout Owyhee County, and it tore through three Wild Horse Herd Management Areas.

These HMA’s, as the Bureau of Land Management calls them, are thousands of acres each. Sands Basin is the smallest of the three and maintains about 70 horses. Hardtrigger HMA has 150 horses and 80 horses call the Black Mountain HMA home. Sands Basin and Hardtrigger are both considered 100 percent burned in the Soda Fire. Just small islands of unburned land remain and that’s where the horses have grouped.

Those islands, though, won’t support the herds through the winter. Too much forage has burned. So, the BLM decided to move all of the horses away from Sands Basin and Hardtrigger, and about a third of the horses at Black Mountain. The emergency horse gather began Thursday in the Sands Basin HMA.

Just after sunrise, a helicopter buzzed over an unburned island of land about one square mile in size. Dozens of wild horses started to trot, as the helicopter herded them towards what BLM officials call a “trap.”

“The wings of the trap are sort of set up like a funnel, so when they come in to the wings of the trap they go into the corral. We then sort them and they are transported to the Boise Wild Horse Corrals,” said Heather Tiel-Nelson, public affairs specialist for the BLM.

A veterinarian will check out each horse. The fire and aftermath killed 35 horses, and officials hope they won’t lose more.

“These horses have been through a lot. The Soda Fire that came through here really stressed the horses, the lack of forage, the fire suppression activity also can play a role in stressing out the horses,” said Jason Lutterman, public affairs specialist for the Wild Horse and Burro Program.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


13 replies »

  1. What I don’t understand about all this crap from the BLM, WHY IS IT JUST THE MUSTANGS they are so “WORRIED” about for needing to be PERMANENTLY REMOVED from their ranges, when the ANTELOPE, DEER AND MANY OTHER ANIMALS ARE LEFT BEHIND???!!!!! HOW DO THEY JUSTIFY BRINGING IN THE DAMN WELFARE CATTLE TO EAT ON THESE SAME RANGES THAT SUPPOSEDLY ARE NOT FIT FOR HORSES TO EXIST ON????????? CATTLE DO FAR more damage than horses will ever do!!!! THEY don’t roam far from water holes…………not until they HAVE to that is….


    • Wow, this article says there are 40,000 horses in holding in “the midwest” which surely must be in addition to about that many in holding pens elsewhere, or the pens would be empty. IF this is true, it indicates nearly 100,000 are held in captivity as I write this. Truth or sloppy journalism?


  2. If that’s a photo of the land conditions it doesn’t look like its devoid of vegetation to me . where is the charred land? Again I don’t buy into any of it like usual. The bullshit that the blm puts out there never flies with me. Of course they will out the cattle and sheep on the new growth.. Then they ship the smallest horses to the real Midwestern States (Illinois and east) and kill or keep the larger ones out there for slaughter…the same mentality that hunters use tovtake out the biggest deer in the herd and call it maintaining the wellbeing of the herds.. Again cow people have no business managing horses. The blm is bullshit..


  3. Capturing these wild horses will cost the tax-payer about $1000 per horse plus long term care and transportation costs, not to mention the extreme terror they just went through during the fire … and yet some BLM “big-wig” decided that the terror of the capture and the terror of losing their families and the terror of living the rest of their lives in a feed-lot is not worth a few thousand dollars to distribute some hay to them for a few months until the land starts to green-up. This is idiotic in a financial way and pure and simple animal abuse for the sake of removing the wild horses so that the livestock profiteers don’t have their feelings hurt if a few legal wild horses remain on their legal lands when the ranchers cannot return their welfare cattle to these public lands for a few years … where they don’t belong in the first place! This is Wild Horse and Burro land designated by the Congress of the United States of America.

    This fire was accelerated and expanded by the use of a helitorch which drops a flaming gasoline mixture onto the land. Why would this decision be made? To rid the public land of two species that BLM considers to be enemies of their pro-livestock cohorts (and mining and extraction etc industries) … the sage grouse and the wild horses and burros. Proof:
    Photo of Helitorch at the Soda fire:
    What Helitorches do:


  4. A beautiful gift that enhances our land, a quiet and peacful presence. They need nothing from us except to be admired and left to live free. They take nothing and give so much, in many ways. They are our history.. They have their cycle of life and we are doing a huge injustice to interfere! Please, let them live in the peace they have known for so many years. This is authentic America, why must we destroy everything good? Let’s stop this pointless, heartless destruction and murder. I pray..


    • Well said … and I hope you are saying it far and wide and close up too – especially to those you know and love. Many of us see the ever-speeding of the BLM & USFS management toward extinction for our wild ones. I have two quick suggestions. Go to see our wild ones ASAP and breathe the same air they do in the wild before they are gone … and take your children and grandchildren so they can someday say, “I remember”. And the second suggestion is do what you can do as well as you can do it – every single day of your life.


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