Rural Colorado horse owners training to evacuate their animals in case of a wildfire

KIOWA, Colo. -- Colorado's dry winter has fire officials very concerned about the threat of wildfires - and with good reason: Several have already sparked this spring on the plains. 

For many homeowners, one of their priorities is protecting their animals. Dogs and cats are one thing, but evacuating your 1,500-pound horse is another.

That's why the Douglas Elbert County Horse Council (DECHC) has been holding a preparedness class for homeowners for the past six years.

A large group of residents attended the training at the Kiowa Fairgrounds on Saturday. As part of the training, a volunteer taught horse owners how to quickly and efficiently load their horses.

When seconds matter, efficiency is key.

"That’s the biggest thing we do," said Jan Wehrly with DECHC. "That’s why we do this clinic, is to get people aware that when they get a pre-evac (notice) to get their animals out."

Wehrly said a lot of people own horses as backyard pets and don't even own a trailer.

"If you have a horse, for God's sake have a trailer," she said.

The DECHC is comprised of all volunteers who will help take care of horses if they are ever evacuated because of a fire. They just want to make sure the horses are evacuated properly in order to get the assistance they need.

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