Native Species American Wild Horses
'Wild Horse Fire Brigade'
The ‘Natural Wildfire Abatement and Forest Protection Plan’, commonly called ‘Wild Horse Fire Brigade’ (WHFB) helps mitigate wildfire and toxic smoke by restoring native wild horses as keystone herbivores into privately-owned and public wilderness areas where they reduce and maintain grass and brush wildfire fuels to nominal natural levels.
America has hundreds of millions of acres (privately-owned and public lands) of forests that are rich with forage and water. There are approximately 353-million acres of privately-owned forests at risk for catastrophic wildfire. And there is approximately 115-million acres of publicly-owned designated wilderness, containing forests of old growth conifers and the last bastions of wildlife species and their habitat.
Prior to the arrival of Columbus in 1492, scientists estimate there were as many as 50-million bison, 20-million wild horses and approximately 100-million cervids (deer, elk, pronghorn, etc.) on the North American landscape. Today, we find these large-bodied herbivore populations have been decimated via mismanagement and human meddling.
Extensively published scientific studies show that this collapsed herbivore (loss of large herbivores) results in abnormally excessive grass and brush wildfire fuels. The same published scientific research shows that on every continent, when the herbivory collapsed, catastrophic wildfires evolved. (See our 'Resources' page for links to the published science)
Wild Horse Fire Brigade is the name of our nonprofit and also that of our Nature-Based solution for the plight of American wild horses. In its essence the Plan is very simple; rewild and relocate wild horses away-from areas of conflict and confinement and locate them into wilderness areas where they benefit flora and fauna as they reduce and maintain grass and brush wildfire fuels.
America contains hundreds of millions of acres of wilderness (public and privately-owned) where wild horses can live wild and free beyond conflicts with livestock and other public land uses.
Wild Horse Fire Brigade helps saves native species American wild horses by rewilding them from government holding facilities, and/or relocating them away from areas of contention with livestock production, and humanely placing them as family units into carefully selected designated wilderness areas that are economically and ecologically appropriate.
There is approximately 353-million acres of privately-owned forest lands at risk of catastrophic wildfire. There is also 110-million acres of public-owned designated wilderness area in America, primarily in the western United States. Most of these wilderness areas have abundant forage and water resources but are manifestly unsuited for livestock grazing due to existing law, existing populations of apex predators and excessive logistics and transport costs due to the difficult terrain and remoteness of such locations.
In such wilderness areas, wild horses that are restored back into their evolutionary roles as keystone herbivores naturally protect forests, wildlife, watersheds and wilderness ecosystems.
Wilderness areas benefit through the symbiotic grazing by wild horses that naturally maintain wildfire fuels (grass and brush) to nominal levels, thereby reducing the frequency, size and intensity of wildfire, as well as deadly toxic wildfire SMOKE (greenhouse gas) that is harming human health and accelerating climate change.
The goal of Wild Horse Fire Brigade is to naturally and sustainably save America’s remaining native species wild horses and their genetic diversity by establishing several large-scale wilderness wildfire-grazing pilot programs using wild horses that are sourced from excess Native American horses, and government agencies (BLM, USFS) using existing law (Humane Transfer of Excess Animals).
Another goal is to also support the amendment of Section 1339 of the 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Burro and Horse Protection Act, to allow federal managers to also directly rewild horses into designated wilderness areas outside existing herd areas.
Here is a Link to a Mini-TED Talk by ethologist William E. Simpson II: