Best Buds, Donkey & Horse Survived CalWood Fire Together
When the Calwood fire erupted in Boulder County, Travis Ochs had no choice but to set his beloved donkey Ennis and draft horse Adam loose as he and his family fled the flames with only minutes to spare.
Jason Vroman, a Senior Ranger with Boulder County Parks and Open Space told 4 CBS Denver that when he arrived at the Ochs ranch, Travis and his sister were trying to lead the animals onto a trailer.
There was simply no time to make it happen as the trailer wasn't even on the truck yet and flames were quickly approaching.
In his statement to 4 CBS Denver, Vroman said, “They started hooking up the horse trailer and I said, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa; we got to go.' The fire was coming so quickly, I was concerned it would cut off our escape route.”
Adam was ultimately too large to fit in the trailer with the Orchs' other horses so the family had to act fast.
“I brought it up many times before, to let him know it was an option in my head. It wasn’t in his,” Vroman told 4 CBS Denver. “I totally get it.”
When Vroman noticed spot fires ahead of their route, the scene at the Orchs ranch changed pretty quickly.
Vroman told 4 CBS Denver, “That was my trigger point. I advised Travis, ‘We need to get out, let the horses go, and get in the truck.’ My voice changed. I wasn’t as nice as before. I added a few expletives.”
Adam and Ennis have been together for the past 14 years and continued to stick together while trying to survive the flames.
Understandably, Orchs was pretty torn up about having to abandon his animals. Telling 4 CBS Denver, “I lost a lot of sleep over that".
By Sunday, October 18, a firefighter and three rangers were back on the Orchs property to asses the damage. The family lost one of their three homes, the hay barn and a log cabin that had been on the property since the 1800s, according to 4 CBS Denver.
Would you believe it though, Ennis and Adam were, together, waiting for their family to return.
Orchs said that the area was really hot and the animals were a "little singed and hungry" but so thrilled to see him.