Bridger Foothills Fire forces evacuation of residents
The destruction and displacement caused by the Bridger Foothills fire has been front and center in our town over Labor Day weekend. As Bozeman community members were quickly offering lodging, water, food, and necessities for evacuees, Bozeman Cohousing members Garl Germann and Marci Young recognized our unique capabilities to help four-legged evacuees. The Bridger Canyon area is home to many ranches with horses and cows who needed to be evacuated. Because our site was previously owned by a large animal veterinarian and we have continued to keep grazing animals on the property (our Norwegian Dwarf Goats), we are able to bring other livestock onto our property. Garl and Marci posted several ads offering our space. Late Saturday night, Garl met Tom Fiddaman with his three horses: Daisy, Georgette, and Emmy.
The next day Mary Maj dropped off a stock tank to water the horses. Our fantastic neighbor to the property, Dorothy Dacar, offered her spigot, but couldn’t supply a hose long enough to reach the trough. Cohousing member Karen sent her daughters over with a 100-foot hose and the horses were happily watered 20 minutes later. And to make sure that it wasn’t only our four legged guests taken care of, Kathleen Owkes coffeed the human evacuees. After three nights our guests, the horses, and their families were able to return to their own home.
While it was our desire to help our Bozeman community that we offered our pasture, we did get something out of it, too. I think the most excited people about the horses on the property were our kids. Tom and his family generously introduced each horse to kid members Aurora and Denali. The girls pet and gave haylike pellet treats to Daisy, Georgette, and Emmy. And then, I knew it was coming… The obvious next question from Aurora, “Can we have horses at cohousing?” I’ll leave another member to let her down easy on that one as my constant “No” hasn’t damaged her enthusiasm for the possibility. Or maybe I’ll let her pitch her proposal to the membership for why we should have horses. ;D
We are thankful to be part of a supportive and caring community and are proud to call Bozeman home. We are glad we could do our small part too by sheltering some horses and their humans that needed a temporary home. We were humbled when Tom told us: “The hospitality around here is excellent.” We hope to always earn that designation from our community.
NBC MT wrote an article about all the helpers in Bozeman, including Bozeman Cohousing members:
Our hearts are with all the people who have lost and to those who fight, including the homeowners who have done what they can to protect their homes, the firefighters, smokejumpers, first responders, coordinators, hand crews, the Sheriff’s department and many others who are tirelessly working to protect our community.