LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4)– Months after the start of the Cameron Peak Fire there are still animals in buildings by the Budweiser Events Center as evacuated people and who have lost property remain out of their homes. The story of how Colorado has stepped in to help animals and their owners is one of people springing into action under the most difficult of circumstances.

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“I cannot say enough about how wonderful everybody here has been through all of it,” said Shari Baker, who along with her partner run Equussential Education, a non-profit Unified Equestrian Program in the mountains of Boulder County.

They didn’t have an easy time getting out from the CalWood Fire. They didn’t have their own trailer, but a friend brought one over from Weld County.

“And a lot of those horses have never been trailered or have ever been trailered once,” she explained about the difficulty. “We were able to load three in the first run and then I stayed with the other two.”

Then back they went for the other two. As the got out they watched homes burn. When they got to the fairgrounds, it was chaotic, but there was a sense of competency.

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“All of the horses are screaming and stressed and upset and it was so well handled and everybody was incredibly wonderful and helpful,” she said.

It was similarly difficult journey for Lindsey Bohland.

“It was about 10 hours of chaos and trying to figure out how to get four horses into a two-horse trailer.”

She came by the fairgrounds Monday to exercise and feed her horses while the evacuation wears on.

“He’s a mustang that’s been in the wild for about five years and he didn’t want to get in the trailer,” she explained about her horse Yoshi.

Over 500 animals came in to the fairgrounds in Boulder County Saturday.

“There were donkeys and goats and every donkey was braying it was a pretty stressful situation for them.”

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Most of the more than 500 animals taken to the fairgrounds have now been moved to boarding arrangements or back home. But in both Boulder County and Larimer County the call for donations brought in hay and feed, testimony to Colorado’s concern. Lindsey was worried about one of her horses, which didn’t seem to be thriving.

“My other mustang is over there and he’s been very stressed out and he’s my biggest eater and he’s been having a hard time eating and relaxing.”

But she didn’t yet have the ability to move them while she is still evacuated. She was hoping to get out soon. So, too, was Shari Baker, who hoped a change in the weather forecast for mid-week might mean a calming of the fire danger and a return home.

“Right now we’re hopeful we can move back on Thursday,” she said. “But who knows? We’re just going to have to wait and see.”

Alan Gionet


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