BLM completes Soda Fire wild horse gather



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: Paul Boehlke / KTVB)

OWYHEE COUNTY — The Bureau of Land Management says it has completed its gathering of wild horses, after the area the animals were located in was left devastated by the 280,000-acre Soda Fire.

BLM crews were able to gather a total of 279 horses: 173 from the Hardtrigger Herd Management Area, 78 from the Black Mountain HMA and 28 from the Sands Basin HMA.

The BLM says a group of horses were returned to the Black Mountain HMA, including four mares that were treated with a fertility control vaccine.

In addition, a veterinarian treated many of the horses from the Hardtrigger HMA for burn injuries.

BLM experts are still working to determine which horses will return to the range and which ones will be available for adoption in the fall. There are other options as well, including Trainer Incentive and Extreme Mustang Makeover programs. Some of the horses may also be traveling to the Palomino Valley National Adoption Center.

The horses that go into the adoption program still have to undergo further care, including an update on vaccinations and de-worming. The process may take several weeks and the BLM says once the work is complete, there will be more opportunities to visit the horses at the Corrals.

Meanwhile, the BLM says it will implement emergency stabilization and rehabilitation activities on the fire-impacted lands in the coming months and years.



  1. Pardon my skepticism, but BLM has no credibility with me. The wild horse corral outside Boise is a windswept dusty patch with no shelter and no windbreaks. BLM staff — supposed experts — defend it by saying wild horses don’t need shelter. I’m impressed with their great big hearts and their great big brains, aren’t you? BLM doesn’t care about horses, and they don’t care about people either unless you’re a hunter, trapper, rancher, or some other kind of exploiter. Then they can relate.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I would love to see the horses that were treated, how many died in the round up ? And what were the 4 mares treated with ? Very sad day for the horses, money to be put out for worming and other things then put up for sale and how many will be put in the slaughter house to be killed?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice of the BLM to chase with a helicopter and then beat the already terrified wild horses with their plastic bags. Terrified and more terrified … when a few trailer loads of hay till green-up and they would have been fine. (capture video on their facebook Aug. 31st)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Again, I repeat myself, to capture these wild horses will cost the tax-payer about $1000 per horse plus long term care costs, not to mention the extreme terror they just went through during the fire … and yet some BLM “big-wig” has 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 when they 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. Soda Fire fly over, August 18 2015

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Kathleen Gregg A major reason this fire burned so hot and so far was because of the “management” of the fire … by what is known as helitorches which are helicopters dropping gasoline-based fire (very similar to Naplam used in the wars) to expand the fire. We are not talking about drip-fire backfires … this is pure and simple purposeful expansion of the wild fire for the sake of riding the public lands of wild horses and sage grouse – both considered “enemies” to the BLM and the welfare ranchers.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Some of the worst cruelty I have ever seen. You really do have to wonder if the fires are deliberate. Horses to be returned when the range recovers? When might that be? They are supposed to be getting rid of the more flammable non-native grasses like cheatgrass, and they are not? Just evil.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Side note:
    They just awarded $142,420.00 for a hay shelter but they can’t even shelter the wild horses and burros at Palomino Valley and Litchfield and other BLM wild horse and burro feed-lot facilities!

    Solicitation Number:
    Award Notice
    Contract Award Date:
    August 25, 2015
    Contract Award Number:
    Contract Award Dollar Amount:
    Contractor Awardee:
    138 SE COUNTY ROAD 2230K
    Added: Aug 03, 2015 6:25 pm Modified: Aug 25, 2015 1:52 pm


    • And here is another large expense that will NOT help to shelter our wild horses and burros.
      Wild Horse Vehicle Warehouse Remodel Solicitation # L15PS01100
      Location: The project site is located be at the Bureau of Land Management’s Rock Springs Wild Horse Holding Facility, Rock Springs, WY
      Estimated Cost:
      Contract Magnitude $50,000 – $100,000

      This is a remodel of the VEHICLE warehouse at Rock Springs, Wyoming … but not a dime to provide our wild ones with any shelter!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Western Watersheds Project added 4 new photos

    This is what the BLM saw fit to plant after the 582,000 acre 2012 Long Draw fire in Oregon. Non-native Siberian wheatgrass, Rows and rows of it, and forage kochia. They call it “restoration”.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The Cowboy Plan to Save Sage Grouse….. Making Things Worse (excerpts)

    The biggest threat identified by agencies to Idaho’s sage grouse populations is increased fire frequency caused by conversion to grasslands and increases in invasive annual grasses such as cheatgrass and medusa head. For years the BLM in Idaho has intentionally destroyed intact sagebrush and planted the non-native crested wheatgrass in its place.

    In a natural condition the sagebrush biome has a relatively low fire frequency because, to put it simply, sagebrush doesn’t burn like fine fuels such as cheatgrass and crested wheatgrass.

    We tried to convince them of their folly but they would have none of it. We showed them some of the previous “fuel breaks”, which were well on their way to becoming strips of highly flammable cheatgrass, but they said that they wanted to have “defensible” spaces where firefighters could go to slow fire if it came to the area.
    Later, after we had parted ways with the BLM, we came across some of the oldest “fuel breaks” that had been mowed in the exact fashion as they were proposing to do for the new ones. They had become monocultures of cheatgrass and the cheatgrass was starting to spread into the adjacent sagebrush habitats. Common sense would tell you that they have just created a greater fire hazard than was already present and that no one in their right mind would want to be anywhere near these areas with an approaching fire. It was a disaster.

    Sagebrush “Treatments”

    Sagebrush treatments occur in various forms from mowing strips of sagebrush, applying herbicides like Tebuthiuron to kill it, burning it, or mechanical treatments which completely destroy it along with everything else.

    As with other forms of disturbance in the sagebrush biome, killing of sagebrush often results in increased cheatgrass and other annual grasses. I have often seen places, like the Owyhee Desert described above, where cheatgrass isn’t prevalent but thrives at the base of dead sagebrush plants

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t get it, why don’t they listen to the people who know what they’re talking about? Are they just hellbent on destroying everything no matter what?


    • Wow! So the cattle wont eat cheatgrass & wheatgrass until they have consumed the native grasses – its the last choice! Do you suppose that just possibly the extreme & early fire season all across the West might have something to do with what is being put in place instead of sagebrush? Is there NOONE with any common sense? I mean if you are planting flammable grasses – and presently there is a drought – why are these idiots allowed to get their hands on OUR public lands?
      Seems to me this should be a wake-up call – especially with the number of firefighters who put their lives on the line every day – how long can this continue?


  10. Carole King & James Taylor Bring Idaho’s Wild Horses Nationwide
    Elissa Kline’s Photographs Join the Tour

    King is a vocal advocate for the wild horses not only in her own backyard but throughout the West. Since living in Idaho, the native New Yorker has become involved on many issues pertaining to land use, conservation and animal rights. It was Kline’s photographs that introduced her to the nearly century-old struggle between the horses and a government that controls their populations through often-brutal measures.

    “I heard firsthand accounts of the level of disregard for [horse] families and herd social order,” and “inhumane treatment of the horses,” King told Sun Valley Magazine. “This made me want to expand my knowledge.” Ultimately, what King learned convinced her that “the roundups, as they are currently structured,
    are cruel and unnecessary.”

    Liked by 2 people

  11. DO attend a BLM Resource Advisory Council meeting and you will most likely hear a lot of discussion as to “where there is funding available”
    Wild Horses & Burros are not a “cash crop” for these agencies….as they are for the livestock contractor(s) that capture and remove them from their Legal Herd Management Areas.


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