Wildfires in Central, Northern California Displace Thousands

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Fueled by a deadly mix of high temperatures, strong winds, and a barrage of lightning strikes on already vulnerable areas, some 350,000 acres in Northern and Central California have now been burned by ravaging wildfire. Fire season in California is every resident’s worst fear, and that fear translates into preparedness for horse owners. It is that preparedness that has seen several eventers from the area evacuated or otherwise displaced by the swelling fires.

As of reported numbers on Wednesday, August 19, some two dozen major fires and 300 smaller fires continue to rage, prompting the evacuation of thousands of residents and the destruction of buildings. Two deaths on the firefighting front have been reported.

Eventers Lauren Billys and Shannon Lilley have evacuated their facilities, located in Carmel Valley and Bonny Doon, respectively. At this time, it appears that all involved have been able to vacate their facilities without injury.

Yesterday Jeff Shady and I were mandatorily evacuated from Sycamore Farms and our rental property in Corral de Tierra….

Posted by Lauren Billys Shady on Sunday, August 23, 2020

“It’s a scary time of year,” Frankie Thieriot Stutes, based in Sonoma county (one of the currently affected counties) and all too familiar and experienced with wildfire threat, said. “My trailer is ready, the meds for my old horses are packed and we are prepared to evacuate after having to evacuate last fall.”

To understand the scope of this fire, Bonny Doon did not get hardly any CalFire support until yesterday. Starting…

Posted by Laura Hartwick on Saturday, August 22, 2020

Outpouring of support and offers of facilities for safe harbor have flooded social media channels this week. Those able to help can check the Northern California Emergency Equine Evacuation Facebook group. With any hope, our friends and neighbors in California can weather yet another fire season safely.

Several evacuated horses are at the Showgrounds. The need is great; we are filling up. If anyone has extra room to…

Posted by Santa Cruz County Horsemens on Wednesday, August 19, 2020

“We are fortunate to have wonderful people on the front lines continuously putting their lives on the line to protect our beautiful state,” Frankie said. “While these fires are terrifying and unfathomable year after year, I am continuously amazed at how the equestrian community from all disciplines comes together in times of need again and again to help each other.”

This story is ongoing and updates will be posted here as they become available.