Good Neighbors

A Community Scrambles to Help Evacuate Horses During Wildfire

When they saw the horses struggling to escape the flames, they jumped into action.

As the Easy Fire quickly spread across Simi Valley's horse country in southern California on Wednesday morning, it wasn't just the people who live there who wanted to escape the flames.

Dozens of ranch owners, volunteers and Good Samaritans scrambled to load horses into trailers and get them to safety as the fire reached their properties.

"That was scary, so scary; just the darkness and the wind and smoke," Dan Dollar, a resident of Newbury Park told the Ventura County Star .

Coaxing the horses into the trailers can be challenging when they're panicked and confused, so it can take multiple people actually physically pushing the animals to get them to move. Some horses aren't halter-trained, which makes it even harder. Also, some people don't own trailers and are forced to rely on volunteers to help transport their animals during an emergency.

"When they get agitated and excited, you have to be firm," one owner said. "If you're panicky, they pick up on your energy."

In a dramatic video taken by a news crew yesterday, you can see the moment when one horse breaks away from wranglers on Tierra Rejada Road and runs back into the flames to guide his family to safety.

Once the horses were loaded into trailers, folks took them to the nearby Ventura County Fairgrounds for safekeeping. Other smaller animals were relocated to several Humane Societies in the area.

Thanks to the quick action of the ranch owners, volunteers and strangers who stopped to help, CBS Los Angeles reported that all of the horses made it safely out of the area with the exception of one; an older mare who was euthanized when she broke both of her legs running from the fire.

To help the animals who were displaced by the fire, you can donate to the Ventura County Humane Society. You can also consider donating to the Red Cross who are providing resources to shelters in the area.

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