Roundup Record Tribune & Winnett Times -

Four Legged Friends Help With Fire Mitigation Work


October 14, 2020

Lura Pitman

Loren Tucker with team horses Jack and Jim

Just south of Roundup, near the Bull Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, three teams of horses were working for three days doing forest management and wildfire mitigation. The first team belonging to Loren Tucker from Madison county, his horses Jack and Jim. They are Suffolk draft horses. The second team belonging to Kenn and Susan McCarty from Saint Ignatius, Chief and Jimmy, two Belgian draft horses. The teams arrived Sunday October the fourth and will be worked for three days too thin down the forested area belonging to Jim and Melody Quade.

Kenn and Susan are both retired from wildland fire service. Since retiring, they decided to do what they really loved. They have been learning teamstering from a mentor of Susan's over the course of several years. Once Kenn retired from Cal-Fire, they bought their own draft horses and went to work for themselves with their team. They use their team to do many events including weddings, funerals, community events, parades, halftime shows, and private parties. They're just now using their team to get into wild fire mitigation. Kenn explained to me that there are three reasons to use horses for wildfire mitigation. One, is for places that would be a small harvest area and doesn't justify bringing in heavy equipment. The second would be sensitive areas where they do not want to bring in heavy equipment, and third, for salvage.

Lura Pitman

Ken McCarty with team horses Chief and Jimmy

Kenn and Susan have been learning the wild fire mitigation from Loren. Some logging outfits have reached out to them to do more of the forest management. Kenn says they will travel for work wherever there called to.

One of the biggest expenses of the horses is having their feet shod. (trimming and shoeing hooves) It's hard to find someone who will shod such large horses. With Covid-19 many of the events that they would normally do such as weddings and funerals were cancelled this year. Kenn and Susan belong to The Montana Draft Horse and Mule Club, where they met fellow teamster Loren, as well as Jim and Melody. That is what kicked off the event that they are doing. Susan says Loren is a great teamster in her estimation, and that he has a quiet way with his team. Most of the wood from this project is going to just be used as firewood for Jim and Melody Quade, the land owners.


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