Any natural disaster poses unique threats to large animal owners: To stay or to evacuate? If animals like horses are evacuated, where can they be sheltered? The Saddleridge fire, which encompassed 7,500 acres near Sylmar on Friday, forced 100,000 people and their pets to evacuate and seek out shelter.
In 2017, the Creek fire near Sylmar killed nearly 100 horses and ponies attempting to escape the flames—nearly 30 at one ranch alone. Officials have been working since the Creek fire to try to establish a protocol for large animals that are evacuated. Implementation of early evacuations for large animals is one key point officials took from the Creek fire.
When the fire moves too rapidly to transport animals out of the area, horse owners and caretakers are urged to turn horses loose from their stalls and paddocks in hopes they will be able to escape on their own. The American Red Cross recommends owners keep current photos and veterinary information of the horse with them in the event the animal gets lost.
Officials have announced several areas that are able to shelter large animals, including Pierce College Equestrian Center, which took in over 80 horses on Friday. The Hansen Dam Horse Park and Pomona Fairplex are also offering shelter to displaced animals.
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.
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