Many of us are seeking solutions to climate change and the wildfires that grow in devastation each year. Since we have seen goats help out, some are wondering can wild horses prevent wildfires?
Every year we see these wildfires grow in size and consume everything in their paths. The impact of climate change cannot be overstated. We continue to see catastrophic damage to property, wildlife as well as economic impacts and real estate value. Additionally, there is the cost to humans as well. Smoke damage to lungs can cause both short and long term health issues.
Some out of the box solutions have included goats and horses to prevent wildfires. It calls on wild horses (mustangs), to be re-introduced to forest lands across the west of North America. These horses graze on the grass and brush that fuels these wildfires. In addition to preventing wildfires, this plan also helps reduce the conflict between advocates of wild horses and ranchers, whose cattle are in competition with the horses for grassland.
How Do Wildfires Start?
Fires need fuel, oxygen and heat to start. Wildfires start naturally from being ignited by the heat of the sun, a lightning strike or from human carelessness. Most wildfires occurs during the summer which is often when most droughts occur too. A spark from a train wheel or heat from the sun is all it takes to ignite a wildfire.
However, the most common way that wildfires start is because of human activities. Arson, campfires, cigarette butts, matches and fireworks are all very common wildfire starters. Once they start the can spread and grow very quickly. All the need is a dry grass and brush, wind and oxygen to rage on.
How Can Wild Horses Prevent Wildfires?
A study conducted by William E Simpson II shows the effect large herbivores would have on preventing wildfires. The idea comes from other forestry studies that show that when there is a sufficient herbivore population in the area, there is a reduction in both the intensity and frequency of wildfires.
Each wild horse that enters a wildfire-sensitive zone will consume 5.5 tons of grass and brush per year. In addition to eating, the animals also reseed the native plants, which helps to control erosion. All of this is part of the natural process that has evolved over millions of years.
Wild horses prevent wildfires and help the government save hundred of millions of dollars in taxes. A herd of wild horses can symbiotically mitigate wildfire fuels at the rate of about 400,000 tons of grass and brush annually. Additionally, they would leave these critical areas more fire resistant.
Why Is using wild horses important?
Using wild horses to prevent wildfires is important because it gives them a job and purpose. These horses can regain their true status of being free and resume their evolutionary role as herbivores. Wild horses would no longer need to be managed and their populations will be held with accordance to natural selection which can also strengthen their genetics.
The idea of using wild horses to prevent wildfires is gaining traction, just as is the idea of using goats. For many, wild horses represent freedom and the spirit of the natural world. To be able to see them have purpose out in the wild would be truly amazing.