The La Plata County Fairgrounds is an evacuation site for residents with livestock animals that have been affected by the 416 Fire.
Our facilities are also equipped to house horses. We have two covered barns and can set up extra pens if needed. We also have stock pens for livestock animals around our outdoor arena. Furthermore, we have smaller pens for sheep, swine and goats. We also have smaller cages available for poultry and rabbits.
Areas of the fairgrounds parking lot are available for RV dry-camping. Signs are posted where spots are available. Also, signs have been posted for areas of the parking lot where people can bring farm equipment to store. For assistance, call the fairgrounds maintenance staff at 769-3853.
The La Plata County Extension is also available to coordinate with members of the agriculture community. If farmers or ranchers have available pasture for livestock or horses, let us know. We can assist families with strategies for livestock evacuation. Do not go to fire personnel looking for help. It is best for emergency crews and responders that you coordinate and plan with agencies first.
I also encourage residents to be prepared. The Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management have websites with great information and one specifically for wildfire. Go to: https://bit.ly/2HLIsBz and https://bit.ly/2laD1TY.
Colorado State University Extension works in collaboration with the national Extension Disaster Education Network. For helpful information, visit their website, https://eden.lsu.edu.
Wildfires and other disasters can bring great stress and anxiety to families, individuals and young people, especially. Separation from your animals can increase these feelings. If you need assistance, reach out to mental health resources in our community.
All La Plata County 4-H summer activities are going forward as planned until further notice. If you have questions, contact the Extension Office. Events at the fairgrounds can change quickly because of the fire.
One summer program we are very excited about is our Inter-state Exchange trip. Last year, we hosted a group of 4-H members from Stearns County, Minnesota. This year, we get to visit them.
They have a great week of fun activities to show off their region of the country. We will be going on dairy farm tours; visiting many lakes, including Lake Superior, and the city of Duluth; hiking to the headwaters of the Mississippi River; and marveling at the Mall of America outside Minneapolis.
This is always a special trip for our members. They establish lifelong friendships and memories. After we return, we will begin to prepare for the annual county fair. This year’s fair will take place from Aug. 8 to Aug. 12.
We are a resilient community and work best together. Stay safe out there.
Greg Felsen is the La Plata County 4-H youth development agent. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-6463. Greg Felsen