As firefighters battle to contain a massive forest fire in Colorado, USA, evacuees include hundreds of horses and a newborn foal

The largest wildfire in the history of the state of Colorado has forced 400 horses to be evacuated from the area, as more than 5,000 residents fled their homes ahead of the blaze.

The horses have been taken to Douglas County fairground where mounted officers, vets and volunteers are caring for them. The animals are expected to remain there for several weeks.

“We have evacuated domesticated animals of all shapes and sizes,” said Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Bernard Harris. “Only the wild animals such as mountain lions and deer have been left behind. Their natural instincts will enable them to avoid the blaze.”

“In total we have moved more than 1,000 large animals, including horses, donkeys, cattle, goats and two camels to the displaced animals centre.”

While the “Hayman fire” continues to devastate the area around Denver, stories of regeneration and hope are coming from the fairground. Animals that have given births in recent days have included a miniature horse. Mother and foal are believed to be doing well.

The plight of the evacuated animals has captured the hearts of children at a local school. Two classes from Mountain View Elementary School in Parker joined forces to raise $635.50 (£426) for the Hayman Fire Animal Relief Fund.

If you would like to help the animals affected by the Hayman fire, a donation can be sent to: Hayman Fire Animal Relief Fund, Wells Fargo Bank, FAO: Lisa Boe, 747 Genoa Way, Castle Rock, CO 80104.

About the fire

The fire began on Saturday 8 June after a 38-year-old forestry technician, Terry Barton, allegedly burnt a letter from her estranged husband. Experts believe this fire got out of control and resulted in the blaze, which now covers around 130,000 acres – the largest wildfire in the state’s history.

Terry Barton faces charges of setting fire to timber in a national forest, damaging government property and making false statements to investigators. If convicted she could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

To date 25 homes and 1 business property have been destroyed by the fire, which is being fought by more than 2,200 men and women. The cost of the fire is estimated to be around $15,000,000.

Less than half of the fire is under control at present and, according to deputy sheriff Harris, it is likely to be many weeks before the whole fire is under control and considerably longer before it is extinguished.

“It has been said that smoke from the aftermath of the fire will be seen until the snows return in November,” says Bernard.

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