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Horse Bushfire Advice


Have a fire safety plan.

  • You may choose early evacuation of horses to a safer district, however it is worth identifying a “safe” area on your property where horses can be placed if evacuation is not possible


Criteria for a “Safe” area on your property

  • As large as possible – give them plenty of room to move, horses will suffer minimal burns if given maximum space. They will gallop through flames, or around their edges, and stand on the blackened, previously burnt area.  

  • Closely grazed paddock

  • Ideally have a dam with clear access

  • A large well fenced sand ménage – provided there are no trees or buildings nearby that will burn readily


On total fire ban days, or when fire strikes, put your horses in the designated “safe” area

  • REMOVE ALL EQUIPMENT from your horse including:

    • Rugs – they will burn

    • Halters – synthetics will melt, metal buckles may get hot and burn

    • Fly masks – will melt

    • Plait tails and manes up, or if you don’t have time cut them off

    • Fill troughs, baths, sinks and metal buckets (not plastic as they will melt) with reserve water for later use

    • Turn off power and gas and disconnect electrical fences



  • Shut horses in stables or small yards

  • Never turn them out on the road – they will be in danger from traffic and they may cause an accident which you will be legally responsible for.

  • Do not stay with your horse to try to sooth it, you cannot provide assurance when smoke is everywhere and the sound of fire is deafening.  Go inside the house and do not put your own life in additional danger.


Permanent identification of your horse assists in re-uniting lost horses with their owners. While brands are useful in identifying your horse they do not help locate the owner. In this way microchips are superior.

  • Microchip contact details are held by Central Animal Records (CAR).  

  • Website: , Phone: 03 9706 3187, Email:

  • NB; In a bush fire situation phone lines may be down, houses or mobile phones destroyed it may be hard to contact the owner of a microchipped animal. The details held by CAR should contain an alternate contact (ie a person not living with you who can be contacted on your behalf if unobtainable). If you have a friend or relative in a safer district, it might be worth putting them down as your alternate contact.


This information was largely obtained from the DPI factsheet Horses and Bushfires.

To view the original article copy and paste the following link into your internet address bar;$FILE/AG0858_May07.pdf

Gisborne Veterinary Clinic

12 Robertson Street, Gisborne, Victoria, 3437

Riddells Creek Clinic; 19 Melvins Road, Riddells Creek, Victoria, 3434

24 hrs; (03) 5428 2805  Fax; (03) 5428 2411

Veterinary Surgeons; Dr D.E. James, Dr R. Dyer, Dr R. Luxmoore, Dr D.P Robson & Associates

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