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Fire in horse country

Sand Fire burns 40,000 acres in Santa Clarita area in L.A. County

- August 4th, 2016 - Feature Article, General News
The Sand Fire began its tear through the Angeles Forest in L.A. County on July 22.

The Sand Fire began its tear through the Angeles Forest in L.A. County on July 22.

Katharine Lotze photo

SANTA CLARITA — Hundreds of horses were evacuated in a late July wildfire in northern Los Angeles County that scorched more than 40,000 acres in and near the Angeles National Forest.

The fire that began Friday afternoon near Sand Canyon Road took almost three days to fully contain, destroying 18 homes and killing a man during the fierce first 48 hours. More than 20,000 people were evacuated.

The blaze also destroyed Sable Ranch, a longtime Southern California location for film and TV shoots that succumbed on Saturday. The ranch was a popular location for Westerns with its Spanish-style hacienda, stables and various out buildings. Among the numerous shows shot there were television’s Maverick, The A-Team, and 24.

Volunteers were quick to respond in a widespread evacuation effort to relocate horses from the susceptible canyon areas. So were local agencies, including the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs and Department of Animal Care and Control. Neaerly 800 animals were relocated and cared for in eight locations, including 345 horses, 165 goats, 111 chickens, 33 pigs and others, including a llama and Brahma bull, according to the L.A. Dept. of Animal Control. Shelter locations included the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, Hansen Dam Equestrian Center, Pierce College and Gibson Ranch in Sunland.

A spontaneous effort by Jess Lewis of the Foothill Trails District Neighborhood Council and a handful of others Saturday morning led to an informal “call center” using a shared online spreadsheet that connected those in need with others who were ready to assist — sort of an emergency “Uber” ride sharing service. Horse owners needing to evacuate would call a phone number that forwarded to four individuals who would plot the caller’s location and arrange assistance by others who had called the number to offer help.
Molly McDaniel, a non-horseperson in the area who wanted to assist, used her technical skills and a laptop to create a shared Google Doc for the database. A phone number was used as a hotline, and the impromptu call center took off.

Volunteers were quick to respond in a widespread evacuation effort to relocate horses from the susceptible canyon areas. So were local agencies, including the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs and Department of Animal Care and Control. Neaerly 800 animals were relocated and cared for in eight locations, including 345 horses, 165 goats, 111 chickens, 33 pigs and others, including a llama and Brahma bull, according to the L.A. Dept. of Animal Control. Shelter locations included the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, Hansen Dam Equestrian Center, Pierce College and Gibson Ranch in Sunland.

A spontaneous effort by Jess Lewis of the Foothill Trails District Neighborhood Council and a handful of others Saturday morning led to an informal “call center” using a shared online spreadsheet that connected those in need with others who were ready to assist — sort of an emergency “Uber” ride sharing service. Horse owners needing to evacuate would call a phone number that forwarded to four individuals who would plot the caller’s location and arrange assistance by others who had called the number to offer help.

Molly McDaniel, a non-horseperson in the area who wanted to assist, used her technical skills and a laptop to create a shared Google Doc for the database. A phone number was used as a hotline, and the impromptu call center took off.

MORE ONLINE: Http://bit.ly/608A_Fire

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One comment has been made on “Fire in horse country”

  1. Stacy Kendall Says:

    I want to personally thank Tania Bennett, Jess Lewis, Carla Jo Bailey, Julie Galetar, MaryLouise Burdi, Mollie McDowell, Holly Kraig Helton and our entire team of nearly 4,000 volunteers on the Southern California Equine Emergency Evacuation facebook group who have assisted in evacuating horses to safety over the last 7 years. From the bottom of my heart I give thanks to all of you dedicated ladies and gentlemen!

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