06/13/2002 11:00PM

Horses evacuated from fire zone

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - A 100,000-acre wildfire in Colorado's Pike National Forest southwest of Denver that has prompted evacuation of 5,400 residents has also displaced about 400 horses, according to officials in charge of animal evacuations in the area.

The horses, a variety of breeds, were removed from their stables as part of evacuations around the wildfire, dubbed the Hayman Fire. As of Friday, the fire had destroyed 21 houses, and local reports said that 10,000 more are at risk.

As property owners followed orders to evacuate, many took livestock to collection points in several nearby counties.

Evacuated horses are at several fairgrounds sites, which were also holding llamas, cattle, and other large animals for evacuated owners.

"It sounds like this fire will last many, many more days, and we expect the horses to be here for several more weeks," said Jim Harlan, who is coordinating relief efforts. "We're asking donations of grass hay, which is safest to feed."

Harlan said local hay donors and volunteers to help care for the animals should call the animal evacuation hotline at (720) 733-6903. Monetary donations to the Hayman Fire Animal Relief Fund can be made at any Wells Fargo bank branch.