By Conor McCue

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Many people and their animals remain evacuated due to the East Troublesome Fire. For some with horses, finding a new, temporary home for their four-legged friends was just another complication of leaving in a rush.

On her grandparents’ property in Golden, Kim Cline suddenly has her hands full. This weekend, her responsibility went from four horses to eleven.

(credit: CBS)

The seven new, hungry mouths are there because their owners were among the thousands evacuating Grand Lake due to the East Troublesome Fire. On Friday, they reached out to Cline’s friend, Chelsea Dunlap, saying they were driving down the mountain and had “nowhere to go.”

“She messaged me and said hey, my friends have seven horses stuck, can they please come to your house, the Jefferson County Fairgrounds is closed,” Cline said.

At the time, Grand County Officials had already opened up space for evacuated animals at Flying Heels Arena in Granby, Middle Park Fair and Rodeo Grounds in Kremmling, and the Gilpin County Fairgrounds  According to an agent with the CSU Extension Office, the properties did not fill up, so no request was made for other counties to accommodate animals.

According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, which authorizes use of the fairgrounds in such a case, the county was ready to open the property up if it got the request from Grand County.

“I understand they have steps they have to go through, but it should never be this difficult to help a person who’s in a really tough situation,” Cline said.

So, Cline stepped up, like many others in the horse community did. She said Facebook groups dedicated to horses were full of people offering help throughout the chaotic evacuation period.

(credit: CBS)

“Thankfully, we were able to get some hay and keep them warm and fed and watered, and they have a place to be,” she said.

For now, the horses will have food and a place to be until they and their family can return home.

“I’m just glad that we got the babies safe and the family can relax and try to address whatever they need to with their home,” Cline said.

The CSU Extension agent said a lot of people evacuating were able to find space for their animals through friends, family, and the community. Still, throughout it all, there was space and continues to be space at the locations the county worked to open.

RELATED: Colorado Livestock Emergency Fund: Help Ranchers Impacted By Troublesome, Cameron Peak And CalWood Fires

Conor McCue

  1. Sheryl McConnell says:

    Wanted to let you know that requests were made to open the fairgrounds to evacuate horses. The reply was “we don’t have enough staff.” This is an ongoing battle to close and demolish the fairgrounds so homes can be built on that property. This will end agriculture activities such as 4-h, Jefferson county horse council, Lakewood Riding club and more. Horses have also been severely restricted on Jeffco trails.
    In Boulder and Larimer we know the staff and know we have a place to go— not like the attitude in Jeffco. My family has been involved in Jeffco for nearly 60 years.
    So sad for this mentality.
    Sheryl McConnell

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