San Luis Rey Downs Fire: Estimated 25 Horses Dead Despite Heroic Efforts Of Workers, Volunteers

by | 12.07.2017 | 6:18pm
Horses running at the San Luis Rey training center Thursday afternoon

A devastating and fast-moving wildfire in San Diego County, fueled by powerful Santa Ana winds, struck San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall, Calif., on Thursday, killing an estimated 25 horses despite heroic efforts of workers stabled at the training center and volunteers from the area. Many of the approximately 500 horses stabled at San Luis Rey Downs were safely evacuated and moved to the Del Mar fairgrounds and racetrack and other locations. Several barns were reported as destroyed. Trainers with horses stabled at San Luis Rey include Peter Miller, Doug O'Neill, Clifford Sise and Scott Hansen, but the center is also home to many small operations.

Trainer Martine Bellocq was airlifted to UCSD Medical Center Hillcrest and is listed in critical condition with second- and third-degree burns on 50 percent of her body, according to her brother-in-law Remi Bellocq, a longtime racing industry executive. Martine and her husband, Pierre, lost three horses from their small stable in the fire and Martine was injured trying to save them, according to Bellocq. She will remain in a medically induced coma in the San Diego hospital's burn unit but Bellocq said vital signs were positive and that she was conscious upon arrival. Bloodhorse.com reports that trainer Joe Herrick has also been hospitalized at UCSD Medical Center with third-degree burns on his arm and shoulder.

The California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Foundation is among the groups assisting those impacted by the fire. Donations may be made at the CTHF website by clicking here and you may specify that your donation go toward assisting Bellocq or Herrick. See our related story on how you can help through other organizations.

Known as the Lilac Fire, the blaze was first reported at approximately 11:30 a.m. PST near Interstate 15 and south of state Route 76, according to published reports. Hundreds of fire fighters responded and helicopters and tankers were used in an attempt to contain the fire. It grew quickly, however, sweeping through the mostly agricultural town of Bonsall and toward Oceanside and the Camp Pendleton Marine base. By midnight, more than 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in the county.

Social media reports from various California-based turfwriters and horsemen late Thursday afternoon describe a chaotic scene, with workers fighting through heavy smoke and flames to get horses out of their stalls and in many cases turning them loose onto the training track and infield, which an official with The Stronach Group, owner of San Luis Rey Downs, said was a confined area. Horses were loaded onto vans, which managed to navigate to the training center despite road closures and blockages created by fire and rescue teams. Many workers resisted fleeing to safety in order to stay with the horses, according to reports.

By 10 p.m., all horses were evacuated.

Trainer Cliff Sise told CBS 8 that one of his horses perished as he tried to save her. He estimated there were 10 to 15 horses dead as of about 8:15 p.m. EST.

Steve Rothblum, a Doug O'Neill assistant, told Daily Racing Form that Leandro Mora, another member of the O'Neill team at San Luis Rey, described the fire as “an end-of-the-world scene.”

Leo Tapia, a groom for Peter Miller at San Luis Rey Downs, posted a Facebook live video of the chaos as he and others rescued horses and other animals from the fire. By morning the video had been viewed over 5 million times.

ABC10 reported that nearby ranch hands were in the process of rounding up loose horses at San Luis Rey to try to remove them from the facility. One man was injured when a horse he was trying to help kicked him in the face. At the time of ABC10's report (approximately 7 p.m. EST), the barns that were on fire at San Luis Rey were empty.

San Luis Rey Downs (Google maps)

The California Horse Racing Board distributed the following statement late Thursday:

A fire erupted in northeast San Diego County Thursday afternoon and quickly engulfed approximately eight barns at the San Luis Rey (SLR) training center in Bonsall where nearly 500 racehorses were stabled. An unknown number of horses were evacuated before fire authorities declared conditions unsafe for vehicles to enter the area to pick up the remaining horses. Individuals at SLR risked their lives in efforts to free the horses from their stalls and herd them into the safer infield area and training track. However, it is believed that approximately 25 horses perished in the fire.

When safe for the horse vans to again enter the facility, most of the remaining horses were taken 35 miles south to Del Mar Racetrack where personnel and volunteers are adequately caring for them. As of 7:30 p.m. some 30 horses at SLR were still in the process of being evacuated and an unknown number of horses housed in pastures surrounding the property were unaccounted for as darkness prevented a thorough search of those areas.

CHRB personnel will be on the scene early Friday to work with the professionals and volunteers at SLR.

Los Alamitos Race Course announced that it is canceling its Friday afternoon racing program out of respect for the horses and people involved.

High winds of more than 20 miles per hour have complicated the fight against out-of-control blazes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. An updated report by the Daily Racing Form‘s Steve Andersen indicated a number of trainers had horse vans ready to help them move horses out, but the fast-moving flames shut down roadways in the area. As of 8:45 p.m. EST, NBC News reported the Lilac Fire had grown to 2,500 acres.

NBC 7 News in San Diego tweeted video of horses in the path of the Lilac Fire running loose. It's unclear where those horses came from.

 

Del Mar has opened its racetrack stabling and fair grounds property to horses and other animals being transported away from the blaze. Some social media reports indicate experienced volunteers are needed at Del Mar, in addition to bedding and supplies for the evacuated animals.

Horse Shows In The Sun's location in Thermal, Calif. posted on Facebook that the facility is open to evacuating horses.

This is a developing story and more information will be added as it becomes available.

  • Richard C

    There are no words that can describe this hideous tragedy.

    • DawnStorm

      Horrendous and horrible come to mind, but you may need a thesaurus for others.

  • Dennis Brown

    It’s really bad out here, I’m 45 minutes from San Luis Ray. The smoke and wind is intense. I pray they will be able to catch the loose horses in the infield.

  • Monrovia Damon

    This week has been horrific. We can hop into a car and drive to safety at a moment’s notice but a horse totally depends on us. Everyone involved in these fires are in my thoughts — stay safe and once the dust settles let’s rally as a horse community and try to make some good out of this.

  • Old Timer

    For some reason I am not aware of, Californians are adverse to clearing brush in populated areas. Some localities require landowners to do so but there is a general malaise where other areas are concerned. So much of the devastation we’re seeing on TV could have been avoided or minimized by a little work.

    • Courtney Davis

      Dude. You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about or any concept of how fast those fires can jump MILES in a heartbeat.

      • Nathan Drake

        They just said the Thomas fire was burning at an acre per SECOND.

        Can the morons commenting about clearing brush, brick barns, and evacuation plans even fathom that speed?

      • Minneola

        Another visual on how fast these winds and gusts can spread these wildfires is one that I heard on a news report: These wildfires can spread the length of a football field within one second.

    • kelly

      this has zero to do with uncleared brush this fire is coming down a dry river bed . there is little to no brush around that training facility. but from where you sit I’m sure its easy to blame all us fruits and nuts here in California. apparently there are many things you are unaware of . one being that not only does a fire create its own weather system and are unpredictable and the other is while horrible things are happening and you are as you said sitting and watching tv negative comments serve no purpose other than to piss people like me off

      • Jewell

        Amen sista!! We lost our home in the Napa fire and all brush had been cleared around the home and horses were actually brought in over the summer to eat down the grass. What an idiot!!

      • Dennis Brown

        Very well said!

      • Minneola

        I suspect that those of us who have lived in California for some time have a better understanding of what our wildfires are actually all about. Many do not understand the concept the fires can create their own storms, as well as creating fire tornadoes. They do not understand extremely low humidity, extremely high winds (70+ mph) that come out of the east with no moisture in them, dry hillsides with brown grasses and trees that can go up in a flash. And, these winds carry embers for miles from those hills and mountains and into residential communities. And, unfortunately, very little rain this month and none on the horizon for the foreseeable 10-14 days..

    • Jill Robinson Breen

      Old Tmrt,

      I’m a born and raised Californian. I have lived here for 51 years and my father is a retired L.A. City Firefighter. I have NEVER heard anyone complain about clearing brush. Not sure what group of people you’ve been exposed to who who are adverse to clearing brush. It takes just 1 flying burning ember to catch a tree near a home on fire… having nothing to do with brush. My father was almost killed on the job saving horses at a ranch where some burning embers caught fire to the eucalyptus trees that lined the long driveway. Those trees created an explosion and a firestorm… again having nothing to do with brush. Even if what you’re saying is true, now is not the time to say something so insensitive. People have lost everything, including pets.

      • Baloo

        Well said – people are distraught

      • kelly

        So thankful for people like your dad. I come from a long line of fire fighters . What people don’t understand is how forceful and unpredictable a fire is. You know and I know it doesn’t even take an ember spontaneous combustion is a use problem. All of that aside your so right no one needs to feel anything but love and support from all of us. Again thank you to your dad

      • Jesse

        Thank you, you have explained in a way not being angry back at the person.

    • I think the time has reached for this Old Timer to hang up his finger tips and to recede into the sunset, preferably at the end of a fishing pier. All of these areas have weed abatement programs.

      • Old Timer

        Wrong again, Mr. Know It All.

    • greg

      I actually lived in So Cal for 50 years, until 2014, you are correct, they stopped clearing away dead, dry trees, all the underbrush, etc. 10+ years ago, why. “we have no money”, however, I lived in the San Gabriel Valley about 2-3 miles east of Santa Anita, and in our hills we allowed farmers with goats from anywhere to let them graze every year to eliminate literally tons of grass and brush that would have been kindling, thank God, no fires there in decades (north of Monrovia/Arcadia). So Cal prefers to give “free” medical care and welfare to illegals, thus no money to fix roads or prevent tragic fires. (last sentence opinion)

      • Baloo

        That is just NOT TRUE.
        Period

        • greg

          umm, yes it is.

      • Nathan Drake

        I currently live in Bradbury and have all my life. You’re full of it. And your unnecessary, politicized “opinion” at the end just proved it.

        LA County comes out and fines you if you don’t clear brush. It’s either a 100 or 200 ft strip depending on what type of Fire Zone you live in.

      • thisismyonlypostonthesubject

        You know what, Greg? Maybe there might be a better time to discuss the issue of illegal immigration.

        Today, animals have suffered and burned to death in front of people’s eyes.

        People who were right there will never be able to “unsee” what they have seen.

        Trainers and owners and stable help will second guess themselves about what they might have done or might have done differently or might not have done at all until they draw their last breaths.

        People reading the articles about these fires and watching the FB posts about these fires are devastated and hurting and wishing they could do something to help–or to make it all go away.

        So perhaps tomorrow or next week or next month or next year we can talk about welfare and medical care for illegals. But not today. Can we agree your sense of timing and place could be somewhat better?

        • kelly

          Beautifully put far better than my emotional rant 🙏 thank you

          • thisismyonlypostonthesubject

            My emotions are so raw right now, they are making my teeth rattle. Imagine. I began this day thinking the story about Silent Ruler and his untreated fracture would be the worst thing I heard about animal abuse for awhile. I ended this day thinking “At least the poor guy didn’t have to try to outrun the fire from Hell.”

            I don’t think I will be sleeping very well tonight.

          • greg

            I agree 100%, states not doing what’s necessary to prevent or help minimize a tragedy like this, which happens way too often, pisses me off as well

        • greg

          my post isn’t about illegal immigration, that was a footnote, if that’s all you got from my post maybe re-read

          • Carl Wilson

            Your post was idiotic and thoughtless. Period.

          • Jesse

            In his defense he mentioned some facts about brush clearing.

          • greg

            but accurate

      • kelly

        You sick SOB how dare you take someone else tragedy a place for your political [email protected]#* so tell me please the community in Santa Rosa the housing track that burned to the ground what were they giving away. ? And those goats you speak of ? That is a paid service , I know we were too busy allowing illegals access to free health care. . And I lived in the area that is zero percent contained for 30 years. And let me tell you something when brush is cleared you know who’s doing it? Not the kids from fallbrook high. The illegals . Do you like avocado or strawberries ain’t no kid from fallbrook high picking them . No it’s the illegals we gave health care too . How dare you make this your platform. Why don’t you get off your [email protected] and meet me at the fair grounds at 2 am they need volunteers for colic duty. But I will most likely be there with a bunch of illegals and will be in far better company

        • TheBluewaterBlonde

          Your comment fails to take into account that it is the rancher and the farmer who is hiring these illegal aliens for cash under the table instead of hiring the kids from the local high schools and colleges for minimum wage who can really use that money. I am so tired of hearing that the illegals do the work that no one else will when it is the employer paying less than minimum wage spreading that lie. My own grandparents picked fruit here in California during the depression and were glad to get the work. There is no work we citizens will not do – for a legal wage. In addition, it is not the rancher or farmer paying for illegals’ health care, no, it is we taxpayers. So stuff it with your illegal bs.

          • kelly

            Please pardon my emotional rant.having just left the fair grounds and hearing about the suffering and the anticipated suffering ( the concern of colic is great. ) A
            reaction to what I felt an inappropriate platform for an ignorant comment. As both a former farmer and avocado broker I can assure you that I paid my taxes and offered a fair and decent legal wage.and to assume that because of my position on the issue means i neither paid my taxes or followed employment law is paid a legal wage is quite a blanket statement Unfortunately the truth of the matter is that today’s work ethic has changed from your grandparents or even you or I. It’s just not a reality. We offered benefit and i am here to tell you i can count on 1 hand the amount of “citizens “ that applied for work. We required a work visa or permit. I’m still a small business owner and I can’t get people to show up for work with a hang nail. My point was to blame illegal imigration is crazy. Our system is broken. We have water restrictions and a city in north SD county just secretly dumped 1 million yes 1 million gallons of water into the sewer because those water tanks have an expo date and one day past the tank and all has to be distroyed. But there was no plan in place beyond “don’t use water “ just think of the dry brush this could have covered. Again an emotional reaction but the truth is the truth there is work Americans won’t do it’s just the truth and it’s sad

        • greg

          “And those goats you speak of ? That is a paid service” , It was done for the benefit of BOTH, food for the animals and brush clearing for the area, win/win..no payments made

    • Baloo

      Ignorance on display; every county REQUIRES weed abatement and brush removal and failure to comply is quite expensive – do your homework before making another inaccurate comment

    • HappyHarriet

      You are a totally uninformed jackass. I just went through the fires here in California, and our horses are still on lock down at evacuation centers where they are, gratefully, safe and well cared for. We had almost no warning.

      You can pull up all your grass and cut down all your trees, but burning embers, blown by 70-80 mph winds, landing on your roof will BURN DOWN YOUR HOUSE IN SECONDS.

      I just visited our ranch. Rakes and mats burned up, but stacks of shavings in plastic bags sitting right there beside the rakes are intact, not even any soot on the packaging! Fires are completely unpredictable!

      Plans are important to help the brain problem solve and to give you some structure to follow. But the ability to be flexible and think out of the box is probably more important in any life situation, especially fires.

      Having just gone through this, my contribution to help anyone in the future is to have a PAPER COPY of people you need to call with phone numbers, and to have a fully charged back up battery system for your phone. I have SEVERAL of those portable phone chargers and they were invaluable. I needed more resources tho – haulers, helpers, rescue centers. Now I know!

      • kelly

        So glad to hear the majority of your ranch is ok . Until you’ve been through this I just don’t think it’s something you can imagine. It’s like being on the moon. And what you described in regards to the mats and rakes ,the first fire I survived was the sycamore canyon fire in Santa Barbara. When we got to go home I will never forget seeing our neighbors house was nothing more than ash and two lounge chairs by the swimming pool like nothing happened. Devastation

      • Barry

        “Planning is essential, plans are ridiculous” – Dwight Eisenhower.

  • Richard Holmes

    It’s a shame that these tracks and training centers don’t have cement barns like they did at Hollywwod Park. Cement barns are so much safer.

    • Meg Hiers

      Many of those barns are concrete, but I doubt you want to be standing in a stall in straw when embers are being blown about by 20-30mph winds.

      • I lost a stallion in a barn fire in Florida in a barn made of concrete. It doesn’t save them.

      • Richard Holmes

        I think you are right. I have never been to SLR. I assumed they had all wood barns like Santa Anita. But I read that at least some, if not all of the barns there are steel. I am shocked that those barns would burn down. But as Barry said, he lost a horse in a barn fire in a concrete barn. So my assumption about cement or steel barns being much safer was incorrect.

    • Not really

    • Deb Curtis Olivas

      Have you consider panic and smoke inhalation, how is a cement barn going to stop that .

      • Richard Holmes

        That is a good point.

    • Sandy Wallis

      That won’t help with smoke inhalation and extreme heat which also kill.

      • Richard Holmes

        Yes, that is true. I just figured the cement barns are a little safer. But if a fire is bad enough, there is probably nothing that would save them.

      • Convene

        Plus all the toxic chemicals released and created by everything burning.

      • DawnStorm

        Seems a cement barn would turn into a huge kiln! I don’t imagine that any sprinkler system would be enough to put out a fire of that magnitude.

  • MBS

    Why wasn’t there an evacuation plan! They knew it was coming! They should of had those horses shipped out in plenty of time. Somebody should be held accountable! I know people with horses and they have an evacuation plan if the fire gets close.

    • kelly

      this fire moved 1000 acres 20 minutes if that the smoke was so thick . how about some positive thoughts our way.

    • Nathan Drake

      Pretty hard when the sheriff shuts down all the roads.

      And they didn’t know it was coming you a$$ hole. The fire went from under 500 acres to over 2000 in under an hour with 60 mph gusts.

    • kelly

      and you are making an assumption there was no plan , let me ask you do you have an evacuation plan ? i live in the area have been evacuated twice and i may as well wiped my fanny with my evacuation plan . i had to flee and hope for the best. wasn’t allowed to take my trailer.( gotta love a right fighter )

      • DawnStorm

        No plan survives first contact with the enemy. Don’t know who said that, but it’s true enough. Hope you and yours are now OK.

    • Baloo

      Sometimes the fire starts and swoops down on you in mere minutes. And that is just reality

    • Deb Curtis Olivas

      You try and remove a bunch of panicked horses in the short tine they had , not to mention getting enough vans and trailers in through traffic and closed roads , easy to sit in judgement from your cozy home .

    • Minneola

      After the wildfires that occurred in Northern California, only two months ago, a lot was learned about the need to rescue humans, horses, and all livestock. One very reputable facility, the Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center in Loomis, CA, has been conducting a number of classes for firefighters, ranchers, etc., in teaching how to rescue an injured horse, to evacuate horses as well as is developing plans for having trailers and trucks be available for mass evacuations. We saw a number of human casualties in previous fires because of the extremely high speed winds (Santa Ana in Southern California and Diablo in the northern part of the state). With very low humidity and extremely windy conditions, evacuations are often hard to do for facilities with a larger number of horses. Private owners may be able to hitch up their two-horse trailer to their pickup truck. But, try to get a trailer and a truck for 50, 100, or more horses. Hard to do in these kinds of situations when there are so many others also vying for that kind of equipment. Then, try to negotiate the roads and streets that may be blocked by fires or by law enforcement. I do hope that Loomis Basin (arguably, the top equine veterinary hospital in Northern California outside of UC Davis) does get a blueprint for such evacuations that can be applied statewide.

    • Sandy Wallis

      They had almost no warning. I know people who were there. The winds are brutal now. Fires are extremely unpredictable even without the winds. I used to live near there and went through a huge fire event. My horses were evacuated to there. In this incident, the horses were unable to be taken out in the vans already there because the roads were on fire. These are all racetrackers. They know better than anybody how to load up and move. We had a flood warning here in Louisiana and Louisiana Downs was evacuated. It took a couple of days to get the horses all out. Everyone did a fantastic job in impossible circumstances. Lots of outside people from the community also chipped in to help get these horses out- people who are friends of mine. Please don’t be so quick to judge horrible circumstances you obviously know nothing about.

    • Richard Holmes

      This was a new fire. The fires that you saw on the news the last couple of days were 100 miles away. This was basically northern San Diego County. The fires the last couple of days were in LA County and Ventura County.

    • hannahsstar

      I don’t know where you live , I live in the Ventura county area these winds can start in a moment’s notice and fire is at your back door the roads and valley are surrounded by large amounts of large brush that can’t be cleared you can me trapped .The weather reporters can’t foresee where a fire will happen

    • WT

      YOU ARE TOTALLY CLUELESS.

    • OopsyDaisy3

      MBS – I have no idea where the blank you live, but to come on this post at this devastating
      time and want to hold someone accountable is the height of ignorance. Glad you know people with horses and they have an evacuation plan “if the fire gets close.” As erratic as the winds are, frankly MBS ,they might start up in places least expected. Take your brilliance
      someplace else, just hope no one who has lost their horses reads your cold and calculating post. Linda in Texas

      • Birdy2

        I agree. The Other Linda in Texas.

        • OopsyDaisy3

          Birds of a Feather—–Stick Together.
          This is a nightmare and another fire has started up today near
          The Lilac inferno. Winds are supposed to die down Saturday
          and Sunday according to the latest weather report, so the
          firefighters can get in to do what they are experts at doing.
          Linda in Texas

    • Lehane

      From what i’ve read in the media, there was a warning 2 days prior. Why didn’t they get the horses out then. Terrible tragedy.

    • DawnStorm

      I dunno about that–I’ve seen the footage and it ain’t pretty! You folks have hurricane-force winds out there plus blowing embers. Plus you’re dealing with animals who really don’t know what’s going on and are freaked out.

  • michael

    This is a tragedy. Poor handling by the track management.

    • Baloo

      It really can happen in minutes; we are experiencing the WORST winds in recorded weather history. Some are 70 – -80 mph. Two 18-wheelers have BLOWN OVER on the 15

    • Bein

      Are you blind, Michael? That’s really the only excuse I can think of for your stupid comment as I watch the fire sweeping into San Luis Rey on video.

  • michael

    and the fact that we can’t get in to get them is a real tragedy

  • tbpartner43

    Watched a live video on FB… it was terrifying. Saw grooms and track personnel racing down barn aisles turning out horses.. some were too terrified to leave their stalls… some were screaming. Prayers to all who are working to save these animals.. and sympathy to the connections of the horses who perished.

  • TheBluewaterBlonde

    I live in No SD County and have two horses. I am in a safe area for the time being, but I remember being evacuated once. We had no horse trailer and no time to get one. A friend of a friend sent over a United Van Lines tractor trailer who responded to our SOS search and we started loading the animals and our stuff in the back, just throwing stuff in as fast as we could. Horses are very afraid of fire (and just about everything else if they don’t trust you). My heart goes out to those horses turned loose to fend for themselves, at least they’ll have a chance to make it through since right now the fire is 0% contained at 2500 acres. If the fire jumps I-15 and starts heading east then I’m in trouble.

    • Good luck.

    • HappyHarriet

      Take precautions, please. Be ready to go. Have everything in your car, load hay and grain, think think think ahead. I’d suggest you sleep with one eye open tonight. And good luck! And get the trailer open, hitched, ready to go and a place to go that can accept your horses. Leave NOTHING to the last moment. Brains do not function normally in an emergency.

      • Minneola

        While there are more options for officials to notify residents when danger is very near and time to evacuate, it may be important for neighbors to set up a schedule so that each person is available to be on a one or two hour lookout during the evening hours. Sleep and rest is important during times of stress but working as a team may be an easy and quick way to stay on top of changing conditions as well as getting some needed sleep.

      • DawnStorm

        I guess that’s the best anyone can do. It’s not like these horrid fires can be predicted like a regular weather event. I’ve seen the footage on the news and I don’t think Usain Bolt could outrun those fires.

    • Buckpasser

      Good luck to you

    • Penelope

      Good luck.

    • Buckpasser

      I hope you’re ok. This fire has moved so quickly.

    • Judy Gaddis

      I send hopes and prayers for you and for your horses safety. This truly is one of the most horrific things I have ever seen.

      The idea already posted about setting up a schedule for “individual watch lookouts” was an excellent one.

  • Boyd

    There is space temporarily available for evacuated horses one mile south of the 78 freeway on Sunset Drive. Call 760 91-0647 if you need space for your horse.

  • Boyd

    There is space temporarily available for horses in Vista, one mile south of the 78 freeway on Sunset Drive. Call 760 917-0647 if you need help.

  • Linda Hirt

    So sad, praying the rest of the horses are ok as well as other animals in the paths of the flames. And praying for all the people that are displaced.

  • Annie Mae

    This is every horsemen’s nightmare. I know the winds are fanning the flames but does anyone know how these fires started, were there lightening strikes?

    • DawnStorm

      Natural causes like lightening strikes are bad enough, but when I hear that a fire was caused by some punk arsonist or some bonehead that did not properly put out a campfire, that’s a level of maliciousness and evil that I wish I could personally do something about.

  • Ferris

    I’m a groom in Minnesota, how can I help?

  • SusanKayne

    CALIFORNIA FIRE REFUGE | Zacara Ranch, also known as the iconic El Capitan Horse Ranch is offering sanctuary for anyone who can bring their horse to ranch in Goleta, 9 miles No of the Santa Barbara airport: 50 multi-acre paddocks, 100 stalls, almost 100 acres of sectioned off graze land,13 acre polo field (set up temporary stalls if necessary). PHONE 805.451.2126 if you need to come to the ranch. ALSO: HITS Horse Shows in THERMAL is offering layovers free of charge. CALL 845.246.8833 #LilacFire

  • Maurice B. Quirin

    Terrible news. God Bless the woman who tried her best to save horses. Hoping for a full recovery and end to these terrible winds and fires which have devastated humans and horses alike.

    • Judy Gaddis

      I absolutely agree, Mo. I know that in the same situation I would do the same thing even if they weren’t MY horses. Bless this woman and let’s hope she survives. The description of her burns and the percentage of how MUCH of her body was affected didn’t sound promising.

  • Riskaverse

    This news is devastating. I pray for all humans and animals in the fire’s path, and I pray for rain and an end to the horrible winds.

    • DawnStorm

      I’ve been screaming to the heavens for a good soaking rain!

  • Genellen

    Just heartbroken. If there is a horse heaven, may these poor creatures RIP.

    • OopsyDaisy3

      There is Genellen. Prayers, faith and hope are sent for all in harm’s way.
      The helpless feeling i have sitting in the comfort of my home 2,000
      miles away is indescribable and i know other’s who feel the same
      way. What can those of us not near do to help? Please, someone who
      has survived the fires please let us know. And God bless man and
      creature that paid the ultimate price. Linda in Texas

      • kelly

        I kinda of scanned the internet but then it occurred to me when this fire is is a small beautiful village called nodal it boarders another village called fallbrook The Moto “fallbrook the friendly village” both are very tight knit communities. Try maybe calling the fallbrook chamber of commerce or the 3 main churches are saint peters Catholic Church , first babtist and I’m sorry I can’t remember the Lutheran church name. Having lives in fallbrook for 30 years I can promise you one of those will know what is needed for that specific area. I can’t reme if bonsall has a chamber of commerce but I know they have a very active rotary club. That way you know the help you give is going directly to the effected area god bless you

        • OopsyDaisy3

          Thanks so much for the information. Tried getting thru and the lines are busy. I will keep trying. Linda

  • kelly

    This is my last comment , to those I offended I apologize. I’m just getting home from Del Mar I went to help with colic call getting those beautiful creatures out of that hell was only the beginning the suffering for all was to continue. And what I saw made me stop and take pause , I saw people from my “village “ people I didn’t know but that maybe my kids went to school with or played sports with or competed against in 4h all with one purpose , to some how ,some way ease the suffering.for both the horses and their owners. Not once did I hear about evacuation plans or brush control or wether or not the man covered in soot , exhausted and crying had a green card. I heard words of gratitude and sorrow. Devastation and loss , guilt and despair. I have learned having lost every member of my family with the exception of my girls in the last 7 years that some of life’s lessons come in a very difficult package. But without the love and support and prayers I probably wouldn’t have made it through . I realize until you’ve suffered a tragedy it’s easy to look at a situation with a clinical eye. Trust me when i tell you there is plenty of time for that and god willing things can change . All the evacuation plans in the world did no good they were not allowed to implement them per the San Diego sheriffs Dept who was also doing their best a team plan needs to be in place. so I’m asking from all that compassion kindness and healing prayers be sent their way. And if your angry be constructive and helpful . There are plenty of volunteer opportunities and needs , get involved and please pray for the women who suffered burns over 50 percent her body . Her family needs those prayers not our criticism.

    • Convene

      What a terrible reflection on so much of humanity that it takes a hideous disaster like this to make people look and the person within instead of the wrapper he or she lives in. Compassion, courage and love know no color, no ethnicity, no religion. God bless all the men and women who put their lives on the line to rescue these animals. They are all heroes of the highest order.

      You didn’t offend ME. I applaud your comment.

  • Noelle

    Terrible and heartbreaking. I am in awe of the remarkable courage of those who fought through that hell to save the horses. God bless them.

  • Lehane

    This is overwhelmingly heartbreaking…the suffering of the horses, people witnessing and doing their absolute best and then their agony of their best failing in some instances. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. In the past, Australian firefighters sometimes go over to help especially to relieve your exhausted firefighters, don’t know if we’ve sent any over yet…..

  • Deana Montoya

    Is there anyway I can help? besides donations? I live in Los Angeles and am more than willing to drive down there in any support I can provide.

    • greg

      Absolutely, if you go to Del Mar racetrack they need all the help they can get, the needs are endless, even if you’ve never been near a horse

  • greg

    Does anyone know if there’s a list anywhere of the horses that died? I’ve seen a couple of names, it not to be morbid but rather to see what horses we may have been following, people we may know affiliated with the horse, etc. I heard from LRF was Riri and 1 other, and PUIG from Scott Hansen, but that’s all so far??

  • Guest

    So very sad. I feel so bad for the horses and people involved. May there be a horse heaven for all that perished. Thank you to all who risk their own lives to help in this terrible fire you are all the true heros. May the horses heal with the help of their caretakers vets, groom, owners, trainers. God Bless You All…..

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