Home on the Range, no fault of their own!
Feral horses are on their own and belong to no one but themselves, we also have ranch horses that have been turned out to pasture and are gathered up to work when the need arises and then there is that in-between that isn't feral but would need lots of work to become a working ranch horse.
The feral group I refer to is a result of the the Rodeo Chedeski fire and they roam between Forest Lakes and Heber and on to Show Low. Many horses that had been turned out for there own protection were never caught up and that started what is now a rather large population of feral horses. This group is expanding across the Mogollon Rim and ten years hence will start encroaching on other area, likely south of the rim and into the Colorado Plateau. The last twelve years have seen lots of expansion of the herd. They are becoming a bone for various factions to fight over. Feral donkeys have been successful all around Lake Pleasant.
When the Rodeo-Chediski Fire came to the area in 2002 many houses were evacuated and many homes were lost to the fire. In 2011 we had another scary month when the Wallow fire erupted and claimed over 500,000 acres.
For over twenty years we have known, we being the people of the United States, that our forests were over grown and contain way too much fuel.
Too much fuel allows a fire to start and burn faster and hotter than normal. This means that fighting such a fire is more a waiting game than a fire fighting game!
Had the monsoon rains not come in July of 2011 the Wallow fire could still be raging, almost! Part of our society would rather see the forest devastated by a very damaging fire than to see one logger make a living cutting wood. Or maybe it is just the logging company that they can't stand... I don't know.
The great Dude fire in 1990, Rodeo-Chediski in 2002, and the Wallow fire of 2011 show that the forest deserve better care than they are getting with the litigants running the show. People with common sense need to take back control of our forests!
"Litigation is no way to run the forest!"
When fire threaten towns and villages there is nearly always an effort to stay in harms way until the very last minute... it is hard to leave when you know not the outcome! It is also hard to arrange things when you must do it in a great hurry and in "Get out the fire is here!"
So one tactic that people use is to turn loose the larger animals and let them fend for themselves! The presupposes that you can catch them up once again and control their movement etc.
During the Rodeo-Chediski in 2002, several horses were turned out in the Linden,
Show Low, Pinedale and other places. The only problem was the catching up those turned out after the fire! Let us say your house burned down... is catching up a horse a priority? Maybe not! In any event there were many horses left loose in the area and now there is quite a large feral herd of horses in that area. These are photos of some band that are easily seen in the area.