Search For Fletch, Lost Horse In Sisters Wilderness Area Continues Despite Wildfire
UPDATE as of 8-29-2017
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
Domestic equine behavior would suggest that Fletch has had no reason to leave his Oasis. He would not respond to wildfire in the same manner as wildlife. We expect him to be in the unburned areas with no public access at this time.
That said, if he were migrating throughout his range when the fire spread; 1) the fire could have sent him up and over the PCT or, 2) down to the open lakes/meadows to the South. He obviously, would not endanger himself to pass through an active or recent burn area.
There are open trails that can be accessed via Todd Horse Camp and the Green Lakes Trail Head via the Cascade Lakes HWY. Although the Forest Service has left this popular area open for public use between closure areas - we can not in good conscious organize a ride to explore the area. While many lakes and meadows can be reached from Green Lakes, the closures from the Rebel Fire and the Milli Fire would put anyone in that area between two active Fire Closures while riding on open trails.
That said, we have an opportunity to be outreach ambassadors for Fletch and for the Equine Community this upcoming holiday weekend. The Green Lakes Trailhead is one of the most popular hiker access points in the area. With the generally strained relations between hikers, bikers and horses over shared use trails for the past few years, it would be of the upmost importance that anyone wishing to be in that area has a friendly out-going manner, is courteous and has horses with impeccable manners. If you can not suffer fools or ignorance then this ambassador request is not for you.
If you already have personal plans to be in that area - Fletches Poster could be hung at the hiker and horse trail heads along the Cascade Lakes HWY. If you have time to hang out at the trailheads, then interviewing hikers or riders to see if they saw anything out of the ordinary for equine activity, signs of broken tack, or signs of a horse hanging out in a particular unusual area will help establish a southern containment boundary.
REMINDER: A fast moving wildfire can travel through the forest at 4-5.7 miles per hour, and across a grassland at around 14. If a fire column is present that collapses - the fire can accelerate in every direction at much higher speeds. Think of dropping a book in the dust - then think of that as a super-heated column of air.
1) Find ambassadors for the Trailheads along Cascade Lakes HWY.
2) After the Holiday, we will explore additional camera placements utilizing staff properly trained to enter the open areas between the Rebel and Milli Closures.
3) Identify licensed Ham operators for future needs.
4) Find Coordinator for entity contact for Deschutes and surrounding counties. I know many of you have already reached out to Vets, Rescues etc - anywhere an unknown horse could turn up. We need to solidify a list of who, when and where. And circle back with an update and spread the notice web a little wider if needed.
5) Continue to coordinate with our ladies and gentlemen from Forest and Fire.
Thank you all for staying active, caring and in-touch.