While no human deaths have been reported from the devastating wildfires burning through heavily populated regions in and around Los Angeles, tragic news has come out about the deaths of 29 horses and the injuries of others during a mad-dash attempt to rescue 60 horses from a single ranch.
When Patricia Padilla was awakened early Tuesday morning by a firefighter telling her that she and her family had to evacuate their ranch because of the fast-approaching Creek Fire, she had one thought in her mind, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“All I could think about was the horses, the horses, the horses,” she said. “And they were like, ‘Get out, get out, get out.’ The structures can get rebuilt, but the lives of the horses can’t. ... That’s my biggest heartbreak.”
The Padilla family doesn’t own all the horses but boards them for people at their location in the foothills above Sylmar in the northern part of the Greater Los Angeles area. The ranch’s location in a lightly vegetated canyon makes it a nice place for horseback rides but a tinderbox when the warm Santa Ana winds began to blow amidst already-dry conditions.
Not long after the evacuation order, The Padilla Ranch was burning as the family rushed to get as many of the 60 horses to safety as possible. The Los Angeles Animal Control arrived to help but were only able to evacuate 15 before the flames got too close, Inside Edition reported.
“It’s awful,” Patricia’s sister Virginia Padilla said. “There’s no words.”
One horse, 7-year-old Ruben, is being treated for burns over 65 percent of his body.
“I’m very fortunate that he is alive because so many people lost their horses,” said Virginia, who owns the horse.
Hundreds of other horses had to be evacuated from other ranches. Over 200 horses and wild animals are being treated at various veterinary facilities. See Inside Edition’s report on the Padilla Ranch horse evacuation below:
Elsewhere in the LA area, wind gusts exceeding 60 mph are fanning the flames of the Thomas Fire, which has already burned many, many homes and forced 50,000 people to evacuate in and around the coastal community of Ventura, the Washington Post.
The 96,000-acre blaze — around the size of Denver — is still out of control.
Meanwhile, the much smaller, newer Skirball Fire has captured the nation’s attention as it rages near the world-renowned Getty Center art museum and the campus of UCLA, Curbed Los Angeles reports. Numerous celebrities and wealthy homeowners have fled as the fire burns its way gradually into the exclusive Bel-Air neighborhood. 46,000 people have been ordered to evacuate.
Please continue to pray for the safety of firefighters, law enforcement officers, and evacuees. In other news, reports are coming in that a suspect is dead, two students have been killed, and others may have been injured in a high school shooting in New Mexico.