Federal authorities have completed their emergency muster of wild horses affected by Idaho’s massive Soda Fire, which ripped through more than 283,000 acres in Owyhee County in mid-July.
Many horses gathered from one of the herd management areas (HMAs) were found to have mild to moderate burns, and received veterinary treatment.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Boise District said it completed the muster on September 4, having gathered a total of 279 horses – 173 from the Hardtrigger HMA, 78 from the Black Mountain HMA and 28 from the Sands Basin HMA.
A group of horses was returned to the Black Mountain region, including four mares treated with the long-acting contraceptive PZP.
The Soda Fire burned out all of the Sands Basin and Hardtrigger HMAs and nearly a third of Black Mountain.
Many of the horses gathered from the Hardtrigger HMA were treated by Treasure Valley equine veterinarian Robert Washington for mild to moderate burn injuries, the BLM said.
The agency’s wild horse specialists and wranglers are currently working to determine which horses will ultimately be returned to the range once conditions improve, and which will be available for adoption and training programs.
The animals are currently being held at the Boise Wild Horse Corrals.
“Gather operations were safe and successful and the horses are settling in and adjusting to hay well at the corrals,” said Chris Robbins, Idaho’s wild horse and burro lead.
“We anticipate an upcoming adoption event for a portion of these horses sometime this fall.”
The BLM will implement emergency stabilization and rehabilitation activities on the fire-affected range in the coming months and years.