Recovery continues at fire-damaged ranch

Work to clean up and replace items lost in Saturday morning’s fire at Miracle Mountain Ranch is moving along rapidly, according to Mark Brenner, chief of financial operations for the Christian summer camp.

One of the critical needs is hay for the animals, and Brenner noted onTuesday, “By the end of the day, we will have 2,000 bales donated. We are looking for some help with trucking (some donated hay), even just a flatbed trailer for a few trips, because we have a semi tractor.”

To store the hay, he said a portion of an arena is covered, and pallets will be placed on the ground to keep the hay dry. “Hay and pallets have been coming in by the pickup truckloads,” he added.

The ranch has between 80 and 85 horses that need a lot of hay. An insurance investigator was there Monday night, but it may be several weeks before a report is issued, and Brenner isn’t sure if the hay loss will be covered by the camp’s policy. Local hay prices vary by the type of hay, but quality horse hay is currently at least four dollars a bale.

He said that a lot of the hay is from the local community, but some has come from as far as Indiana.

Some tack, especially harnesses for wagons have been donated, but thankfully the saddles are intact, he added.

Brenner said the clean-up is well underway, and a construction company from Meadville has donated a crew to help.

Additionally, some small animals have been temporarily donated, and their pens will be located in the Rafter K arena.

The small animals are especially important this week, as it is the last week of Buckaroo Camp for 60 youths between the ages of six and eight years old. Brenner said that camp is going on but, “We’ve had to change things a little bit, we have to be creative. They’re having a ball, playing games and riding horses. They are not really aware of what has happened.”

So far this season, there have been 1,200 campers for summer camp, and the ranch also has winter camps, family camps, horse camps, wilderness camps, retreats and more.