Family Loses An Estimated 30 Horses In Southern California Wildfire

by | 12.06.2017 | 4:30pm
An image of a past California wildfire

Firefighters and emergency crews in Southern California are once again battling flames from several wildfires, this time in several areas close to Los Angeles. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for the areas, and residents have been scrambling to save what they can, including family pets.

Unfortunately, there have been many animals lost in the fires. NBC Los Angeles reports that an estimated 30 horses were lost when the Creek Fire swept through Sylmar and engulfed the Padilla family's ranch.

Virginia Padilla told the NBC affiliate that they had 60 horses at the ranch, but they did not have time to move any of them when the mandatory evacuation orders were issued. Padilla thought that all of the horses would be lost, but they received word that “someone was able to save a few” of the horses, and she did find one rescued horse at Pierce College.

Padilla said that they won't be able to count how many horses were saved or lost until they are able to return back to their property.

Read more at NBC Los Angeles

  • Scot Morley

    Horrible story, my prayers go out to those horses.
    Makes me feel awful.

  • kramhslew

    so sad.

  • Monrovia Damon

    Makes my heart sink.

  • rem

    it seems someone boarding 60 horses in a high fire zone with limited access would have some sort of evacuation plan. gross negligence. not saving at least 1 of 60 tells me the horses were not a priority in their minds. so so sad

    • Always Curious

      Your judgemental comment is disgusting. You don’t know what happened.

      • amy

        im sorry those horses died they should not have all the other farms around them were able to evacuate their horses and other animals the horse stalls were padlocked and the horses had no chance if you know the fire is that bad you at least open the stalls so the horses have a chance to escape if you live in a state known for fires you make sure you have an evacuation plan

      • Erin Casseday

        There was a video showing the stall doors with the padlocks on and the burnt horses in the stalls. What horse owner would padlock their horses in with no way to let them out in a moments notice? Not intelligent ones.

    • WT

      Really? Do you realize how much time it would take to move that many horses? You’d need a half dozen tractor trailers. How would they get in and out quickly? When you get the order to evacuate you have very little time for anything. Your comment is ignorant and unsympathetic.

      • 33horses

        If there was any fire threat, the padlocks on their stalls should have been removed. That takes only minutes

        • Minneola

          That is what saved the horses at the Glen Ellen Vocational Center equestrian facility during the wildfires that hit Northern California just two months ago. The owner turned them loose since there was no way to evacuate all of them. And, all 34 horses survived, albeit, with a couple singed from the fires. Blood Horse ran a couple of stories about it on Oct. 10 and the follow-up on Oct. 19. Just google Blood Horse and Glen Ellen Vocational Center fire. It should show up.

        • Erin Casseday

          Quite frankly, there should never have been padlocks on the stall doors or paddock gates. The owners should be held criminally negligent.

      • Erin Casseday

        Padlocking horses in stalls or paddocks with no way to quickly let them loose if needed, is ignorant.

  • Genellen

    Horrible. It makes me sick. Those poor animals…

  • Patricia Diers

    Horrible….heart breaking.

  • Deplorably Optimistic.

    Sad stuff going on in California — it is tough. Good to hear someone was able to help — would be nice to do a story on the heros out there.

  • mullenhap

    Heard on news this fire is spreading an acre a second. How much time to save your own life. God bless those poor horses. Sad.

  • 33horses

    The stupidest part is the horses were padlocked in their stalls so they had NO chance!
    I can’t even imagine the horror!
    Even if you don’t have enough time or trailers at least have ID on them and turn them loose

  • Carolyn Hyatt

    It may be judgemental but I agree with “rem”. There should be an evacuation plan plus the fact that you do not wait until you are told you must evacuate! You put your cowboy boots on, saddle up and drive the horses like a cowboy. Pack food and supplies in vehicles, for you and the horses. Find volunteers for help to drive the horses. If the horses are boarded there, get their owners, grooms etc to help, put them on a horse and have at it. Cowboying and horses are what this Country was built on. And by a “planned evacuation” you need to have people lined up ahead of time, and know how much food and water will be needed for the humans and horses, and the herding dogs. Know the lay of the land and have escape routes for large herds. People today have a tendency to stay to themselves and not make friends in their own communities, not helping their neighbors when help is needed. Not even knowing their neighbors. It takes a village to raise a child but it also takes a community to save herds of animals. Make a plan ahead of time… or just in case. What do you have to lose if you never have to use the plan? Time. But well worth the reward if it’s ever needed.

  • Carolyn Hyatt

    My heart does go out to the loss of the horses. Such sadness, but also makes me angry.

  • Richard C

    It was reported by NPR during Thursday’s Morning Edition.

  • Minneola

    No kidding! What were they thinking? Keep those horses locked up and trapped with a wildfire not too far away? As I mentioned to someone else on this thread, the Glen Ellen Vocational Center turned their horses loose when there was no way to evacuate them. All 34 horses survived. It’s no great secret that these wildfires can move rapidly and shift in direction. But, why did they wait until it was too late and do nothing at all?

    I do hope that, with the wildfires that plagued Northern California just a mere two months ago and, now, these in the southern part of the state, there will be those in the state’s equine industry that will get serious about saving horses and livestock in these kinds of fires. It would seem that appropriate property should be zoned for horses and other animals as well as to make certain that these properties be inspected on a regular basis by the local fire agencies to see whether dry brush/grasses were eliminated as well as that instructions are provided of what to do in case of a fire. These wildfires are not that uncommon in this state. Much should be learned from these disasters and I do hope that we see evidence forthcoming, within the next few months, on what can be done in the future. Because, if nothing is done, what does that say about all of us? I’d also like to know what UC Davis, as the leading equine veterinary school in the entire West, suggests. At least, at the Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center, in Penryn, they are using their knowledge of the Napa/Santa Rosa fires to teach fire fighters and other first responders as well as ranchers and owners of what to do to rescue their horses. They, actually, have classes and demonstrations in order to teach skills to these individuals. They are also trying to set up an organizational plan to evacuate large numbers of horses by coordinating this with those that have trailers and trucks to get their equipment to the disaster immediately and get those horses evacuated. I do hope that a very efficient plan is developed and, then, shared with those in the southern part of the state. This plan is way overdue. Maybe, they need to hire Elon Musk to do this. He’s demonstrated that he can think “outside the box.”

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