AUSTIN (KXAN) — Neighbors are stepping in to help evacuees of the Rolling Pines Fire in Bastrop County evacuate and care for their animals after a controlled burn became out of control and threatened nearly 100 homes.
Valkyrie Ranch, which is 500 acres, is opening its gates to anyone who needs help with livestock or exotic animals. Frank Artes, the owner, said nobody has showed up yet but they have helped relocate pot belly pigs to another property.
Artes says during the scramble to evacuate yesterday, an effort he helped with, he saw a number of neighbors evacuating their horses in trailers. He also says people from all over the county were driving in to help people evacuate their animals quickly.
“It’s going to require you having a working trailer and so forth that’s big enough to take all your animals at once,” Artes said on the phone. He says the large livestock trailers you might see with dozens of animals in them cost at least $100,000 and that most people can only fit one or two horses in their trailer.
In some cases, when there isn’t time or the ability to load livestock onto a trailer to evacuate them, people will open their gates and let animals run with the hope of collecting them later. Artes says he hasn’t heard of many people needing to do that during the Rolling Pines Fire.
“If it does god forbid come this way that is something that we would be doing,” he said. Artes explained that many animals have microchips or ear notches.
If you see livestock that was released during the fire Artes says you should call the sheriff’s office so that livestock officers can help wrangle the animals and get them to safety.
“They usually have a pretty good understanding of the brands and the ranches and the locations,” he said.
The Bastrop Area Livestock Show Barn and Bastrop Rodeo Area are open for evacuation of livestock. The Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management is asking you call before you haul. The numbers to call are: Jr. Tucker 512-653-8903 and/or Hillary Long 512-657-7056.
Valkyrie Ranch says if you need to evacuate animals you are welcome at the gate, no call needed. They said they will help with feed and hay. They’re located at 2030 FM 2104, Paige, Texas 78659.