STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Rancher Says Wild Horses Could Help Prevent Wildfires

As fire season inches closer and closer, local ranchers say there's one prevention method that is not getting used enough. Wild horses that can eat fire fuels.

Posted: May 17, 2018 5:31 PM
Updated: May 17, 2018 6:29 PM

SISKIYOU COUNTY, Calif. -- As fire season inches closer and closer, local ranchers say there's one prevention method that is not getting used enough. Wild horses that can eat fire fuels. 

Naturalist Rancher Bill Simpson said it's a plan that will save lives without hurting taxpayers' wallets. He and his wife, Laura, have been taking care of and protecting a group of wild horses in the Cascade Siskiyou Mountains for nearly five years. Simpson said about 30 years ago, there was enough deer out there to keep the grass grazed down, but that is no longer the case.

"With as much grass and brush as we're seeing from the lack of deer, we're going to continue to have these outrageous fires," Simpson said. 

He said that's where the natural grazing, wild horses come in. 

"They're logical, they're practical and we happen to have 48,000 of them sitting in a corral right now at the U.S. BLM and Forest Service corrals," Simpson said.

He said they are able to help in more ways than one.

"They can go into a fragile ecosystem and when they eat the plants and grasses and flowers, most of the seeds are deposited back onto the land intact," Simpson said. 

He said that's not the case for other grazers like cattle and sheep. He said getting them out in the forests is the answer, where they won't cost taxpayers anything while helping reduce fuels.

Britt Ivy Boice is advocating for the plan. She said it's already costing millions of dollars to keep them in corrals, so why not put them to work?

She believes it's another level of live-saving protection the region desperately needs.

"Preventing fires is a whole lot easier than suppressing fires once they take off, you're off to the races," Boice said. 

Simpson said the number of wild horses left is extremely low.

"Today's there's 68,000. They will soon be a vanished species if we don't at least give them a place to live," Simpson said. 

Now he's taking this plan to the BLM, Forest Service and legislators like Greg Walden, hoping they'll get on board. 

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 10395

Reported Deaths: 215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah252969
Marion166148
Washington162020
Clackamas86125
Umatilla7726
Union3561
Lincoln3464
Lane2283
Deschutes2210
Malheur2161
Polk16012
Linn1579
Jackson1520
Yamhill1398
Jefferson1340
Klamath1301
Morrow1071
Benton955
Hood River940
Wasco941
Josephine561
Clatsop540
Douglas510
Columbia420
Coos420
Lake210
Tillamook150
Crook130
Wallowa100
Curry80
Baker50
Sherman30
Gilliam10
Grant10
Harney10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 271035

Reported Deaths: 6441
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1165703534
Riverside20555486
Orange17882366
San Diego16726387
San Bernardino15345269
Imperial7190117
Alameda6855140
Fresno611077
Santa Clara5408164
Kern536982
Tulare5009136
San Joaquin447455
Sacramento423669
San Francisco399250
Contra Costa387885
Ventura378950
San Mateo3599108
Santa Barbara326129
Marin280921
Kings267333
Stanislaus266045
Monterey215115
Solano147625
Sonoma135911
Merced127211
Placer91111
San Luis Obispo7652
Yolo67726
Madera5785
Santa Cruz4593
Napa4364
San Benito2732
Sutter2523
Lassen2420
El Dorado2260
Butte2063
Shasta1544
Humboldt1444
Nevada1291
Yuba1282
Glenn1220
Lake961
Tehama881
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Del Norte581
Calaveras530
Mono471
Tuolumne430
Amador330
Inyo331
Siskiyou320
Mariposa311
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Overcast
58° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 58°
Brookings
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 50°
Crater Lake
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 44°
Grants Pass
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 52°
Klamath Falls
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 44°
Cooler & less windy Tuesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Monday, July 6th Evening Weather

Image

Medford approves new urban campsite for houseless along Biddle Road

Image

Family displaced following mobile home fire near Central Point

Image

Monday, July 6 afternoon weather

Image

Monday, July 6 morning weather

Image

Sunday, July 5 evening weather

Image

Golf Tip of the Week: Oak Knoll Golf Course

Image

Saturday, July 5 morning weather

Image

Saturday, July 4 evening weather

Image

Saturday, July 4 morning weather