The blazes of Creek Fire ignited on Tuesday around 6:30 a.m. With strong Santa Ana winds blowing, the fire quickly got out of hand. It started outside of Los Angeles and moved rapidly towards Sylmar and Lakeview Terrace.
This area is known as “LA horse country”. According to Wikipedia, it is home to a large equestrian community and is one of the last areas zoned to have horses in Los Angeles.
As smoke filled the air and evacuations were issued, horse owners rushed to save their pets. With masks on to fight the smoke, many lead their horses to safety on foot toward a safe shelter. Social media was full of people and organizations like The Gentle Barn offering shelter and help transporting horses out of the area.
— Josie Huang (@josie_huang) December 5, 2017
The fire was moving so fast there wasn’t time to waste, and volunteers stepped up to help evacuate as many horses as possible. A local horse lover and true angel, Deidre Somers volunteered to stay with dozens of horses displaced by the fires. She says they’re getting used to her, but earlier some were “kicking, and bucking and screaming. They’re terrified.”
Unfortunately, not all horses could be saved from the rapid flames. Rancho Padilla lost a heartbreaking 29 horses out of the 60 that were boarded there. The family-owned ranch is devastated. Patricia Padilla told the Los Angeles Times,”All I could think about was the horses, the horses, the horses. And they were like, ‘get out, get out, get out.'” She goes on to say, “Honestly, it feels like we lost a big part of our family, to see it all gone …. it’s heartbreaking.”
Safe shelters are set up for horses and separate ones for small pets and their owners, and can be found on the fire updates at the County of Los Angeles website. Los Angeles also has a notification system you can sign up for that will send alerts via text and email during disaster events. There are no words to describe the devastation these fires have left behind.
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Please heed the warnings and evacuate. Take your pets with you! They are frightened just like you.
So far the Creek Fire has scorched over 11,000 acres and is just 10% contained. This is just one of four fires in Southern California. First responders are overwhelmed, and strong winds and dry conditions are adding fuel to the fires. Pray for calm conditions and rain! Thank you to all of them for their bravery, and for everyone helping each other out in this time of crisis.
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Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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