Horses take refuge at Boulder County Fairgrounds as Calwood Fire burns nearby

Posted at 5:15 PM, Oct 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 08:18:17-04

LONGMONT, Colo. — The Calwood Fire has burned more than 8,600 acres since it sparked on Saturday making it the largest recorded wildfire in the history of Boulder County.

More than 500 horses, sheep, pigs, and goats are spending the weekend at the Boulder County Fairgrounds as the Calwood Fire continues to burn on the Front Range. So many livestock were in need of shelter, organizers at the stables were required to turn evacuees away.

"We had 60 horses so we had no idea where to go," said Wren Mehan, a team rider at Triple Creek Ranch. "All of a sudden we saw this huge cloud of black smoke coming over us."

She and her riding team were at a competition when they saw the fire. Within an hour their 60 horses were in trailers and headed for safety.

"We have had a couple of horses freak out because they have not been trailered in 15 years," she said. "They are in this new environment where they are freaking out and they don’t know what is going on."

Numerous other ranchers and horse owners say the efforts to save their animals have been an enormous task.

"I have been with Boulder County for 36 years. I would say that last night was the biggest evacuation that I have experienced here at this facility," said Joe LaFollette, the manager at Boulder County Fairgrounds. "Trailers were back up all the way up the parking lot into the road."

Now, as the Calwood Fire continues to burn, owners wait to for word on the fire's destruction,

"We are okay and that is all that matters," said LaFollette. "Everything else we can replace. So we will see what happens."