Fairgrounds, other places will board livestock

A number of ranchers and people with available boarding have offered space to livestock such as horses, cattle, sheep, llamas, pigs and goats for De Beque residents who are under evacuation orders.

About 50 people were evacuated Thursday. People should call 211 from a landline or 244-8400 from a cellphone to coordinate livestock evacuation efforts.

Tanya Baber with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Posse said posse members already have helped with evacuations. Some Mesa County residents are taking animals during the emergency. The posse has compiled a list of people offering services.

Vonnie Ferro, owner of the Diamond Rose Ranch in Clifton, a boarding motel for horses, said she felt compelled to offer services for De Beque residents after seeing coverage of the fire.

“With all the things that are going on with the fires, they have many other things to worry about,” Ferro said. “We are here to help.”

De Beque evacuees with small animals, such as dogs and cats, should bring them with them to the evacuation center at Palisade High School, 3679 G Road.

The Mesa County Fairgrounds, 2785 U.S. Highway 50, also is a designated evacuation center for large livestock, said Jo Carole Haxel, fairgrounds manager.

People in a rush to evacuate animals do not need to call ahead, but a phone call to house animals at the fairgrounds is preferred. Haxel said those folks should call the non-emergency dispatch number at 242-6707.

Haxel said fairgrounds staff were advised that the facility could expect to receive hundreds of head of livestock, but none had arrived as of Friday afternoon.

Haxel said the fairgrounds can house some cattle; for example, if people need to evacuate a milking cow or a cow that is being raised for the Mesa County Fair.

However, the facility is not equipped to take large herds of cattle. Haxel said she had heard De Beque residents who cannot evacuate large herds of cattle quickly have been advised to cut fences. Haxel said she hasn’t heard of any ranchers having to do that.

It’s preferred that livestock owners bring their own hay to feed animals, but the facility can provide some hay in an emergency. Owners should bring their own feed and water buckets, Haxel said.

Haxel said the timing of the fire is unfortunate as the county fair starts July 17.

“I hope we don’t have to be in that position,” Haxel said of a possible overlap.


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