To date, the Soda Fire has swept across 285,000 acres of land in southwestern Idaho, including 100% of the Sands Basin and Hardtrigger Wild Horse Herd Management Areas (HMA) and a third of the Black Mountain HMA. Last week, 29 horses were killed by the fast moving fire, and six more required euthanization due to injuries sustained in the fire.
All of the horses within the Sands Basin and Hardtrigger HMAs will be removed to ensure their health and safety during the upcoming winter months. Approximately 65 horses will be gathered from Black Mountain, reducing wild horse numbers to a sustainable level for the remaining forage in that HMA. In all, approximately 285 horses will be gathered.
“Throughout the duration of the fire, BLM teams were monitoring the condition and whereabouts of the horses,” Arnold said. “A patchwork of unburned islands within the HMAs provided limited forage, but not at a sustainable level. It is critical that we see to the horses’ nutritional needs by bringing them in to the Boise Wild Horse Corrals until the range recovers.”
BLM will implement emergency stabilization and rehabilitation activities on the fire-impacted lands in the coming months and years. While the herds are being cared for in the Boise BLM corrals, the lands and resources in the HMAs will have greater opportunity to recover.
“With the help of our BLM employees and a private contractor, we’ll begin the emergency gather of the wild horses this week,” Arnold said.
Information about the emergency wild horse gather will be posted at bit.ly/SodaFireGather and a recording will be updated each day on the information line at (208) 373-4015.
** Note to the Media:
When to meet: A public observation day has been scheduled for Thursday, August 27. If this changes, a recording will be left on the Soda Fire Gather Info Line at (208) 373-4015. Members of the public/media planning to attend the gather should RSVP their attendance by leaving a message on this line.
Where to meet: Please meet at the I-O-N Truck Plaza, 5644 Browns Lane, in Marsing at 6 a.m. to caravan to the observation area.
Transportation: All visitors must have their own transportation – we cannot take people in government vehicles except in an emergency. The roads to the viewing area are very rough and dusty. Vehicles MUST HAVE 4-wheel drive with high clearance. Visitors must have spare tires.
Weather conditions: This is Idaho in September, so plan for warmer temperatures, possible thunderstorms, and windy conditions at the gather site. Dressing in layers is recommended due to fluctuating temperatures throughout the day.
Physical Activity: The viewing area for the public observation day might not be located close to a road. There will be some hiking and standing involved. Due to the burned areas, you may want to bring a folding chair.
What to bring:
· Closed-toed sturdy shoes
· Neutral-colored clothing (no bright colors, please)
· Adequate food and water
· Binoculars/Scoping Lens
· Camera with zoom lens
· Toilet Paper/tissue (There are no restroom facilities available)