Up to 29 helpless horses locked in their stalls burned to death in the California wildfires after ranch owners were ordered to evacuate in Sylmar. When the owners returned Wednesday, the charred carcasses of the animals that perished in the Creek fire were lined up where they were trapped. The horrific scene happened at Rancho Padilla on Little Tujunga Canyon Road in Sylmar.
The Padilla family somberly surveyed the aftermath of the damage with the dead horses before them amid the torched facility that was constructed 20 years ago. About 60 horses were boarded there and managed to run away from the California wildfires, but 29 weren’t so lucky.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the Creek fire was swift-moving and first reported at 3:43 a.m. on Tuesday. The Padilla family awoke to the California wildfires and a fire crew member told them they must leave.
Patricia Padilla said all she could think about was the horses as the wildfires raged through the area.
“All I could think about was the horses, the horses, the horses. And they were like, ‘Get out, get out, get out,'” Padilla said. “The structures can get rebuilt, but the lives of the horses can’t…. That’s my biggest heartbreak.”
Patricia and her sister, Virginia Padilla, said they were going to call each owner of the horses to give them the awful news.
Articles posting news about the 29 horses burned to death in the wildfire have readers enraged, calling what the ranch owners did criminal and callous. Despite orders to evacuate the area, many are angry that the owners didn’t at least try to open the stall doors so the horses had a chance to run from the fires themselves.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 7, 2017
Fox News reports that dozens of race horses worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have also been killed in the wildfires that have engulfed Southern California. Several race horses in San Diego are being rescued after the newest California wildfire, Lilac, began tearing through the region. Several galloped from San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall, California. Mac McBride, who was working with one of the trainers, said it was “total pandemonium when several hundred horses were cut loose.” Trainers suspect up to 30 have been killed of the 450 horses they stable at the facility.
Dozens of race horses worth hundreds of thousands of dollars perish in California wildfires https://t.co/khnuQkFnFu
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) December 8, 2017
Horses were scattered everywhere and the smoke made it hard to see, trainer Dan Durham said. They just let the horses loose so they had a chance to escape the fast-approaching flames. Another trainer, Cliff Sise, said it was dark and terribly hot. He tried to get one mare to leave her pen — but she wouldn’t budge.
“It was dark, everything was hot and she wouldn’t come out. I opened the pen and tried to get behind her and get her out, and she wouldn’t get out,” Sise said. “She burned to death that quick.”
At this point the number of horses and other animals killed in the California wildfires is unknown, but many are racing against the speed at which the flames are moving with the shifting direction of winds working against firefighting efforts.