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Rescuers rally on social media to save horses from wildfires
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
California's wildfires reached San Diego County Thursday as a blazed named the Lilac fire near Bonsall quickly grew to engulf thousands of acres. The newest fire raged through agricultural lands to the west of Interstate 15, affecting rural communities and prompting a scramble to save horses. SEE ALSO: Striking aerial photos show severity of California wildfires The Lilac fire quickly spread to cover 2,500 acres with zero containment by Thursday afternoon, prompting evacuations in several areas and affecting dozens of buildings. California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in San Diego County on Thursday night.  The San Luis Rey Downs training center was hit badly, with several barns affected and some deaths among the horses, according to local reports. Locals quickly sprung to action on social media, sharing news of what was happening and aiming to coordinate rescue efforts. This afternoon, horses are being evacuated from San Luis Rey Downs training center in San Diego county, and bound for Del Mar, because of a fire in the area, trainers and Del Mar officials said. More on https://t.co/3lUqXXeB8I soon. #drf — Steve Andersen (@DRFAndersen) December 7, 2017 URGENT! Horse trailers needed! if headed 2 lilac fire with truck/trailer contact DART program leaders 1 760-267-0104 Kevin (602) 503-0922 Holly These people are dispatching trailers when they get the word from Animal Control,Cal Fire u must call/text 2 get in 2 evac areas!! — Tischa Culver (@TischaCulver) December 7, 2017 The Del Mar Racetrack threw open its doors for evacuees, and the owners encouraged people to bring bedding and food for the horses. Facebook groups were filled with posts aiming to coordinate the effort. #LilacFire The @DMFairgrounds is now open for evacuees through the Stable Gate. Call 858-755-1161. Evacuees are encouraged to bring bedding, feed & horse identification. — Del Mar Racetrack (@DelMarRacing) December 7, 2017 Del Mar’s Josh Rubenstein on housing San Luis Rey horses: “We will take every single horse we can get. We’re open to anything with four legs.” — Jeremy Balan (@BH_JBalan) December 7, 2017 A reporter for Fox 5 San Diego captured scenes of the horses fleeing. #Lilacfire our cameras just caught this group of horses fleeing from fire. Dozens are stuck in field, people scrambling to round them up. pic.twitter.com/t3QeD6VcMO — Fox 5 Sharon Chen (@sharonchenfox5) December 8, 2017 Other photos showed horses being led through smoke to safety. The latest on #LilacFire | -1000 acres-0 percent contained-5 structures destroyed, 1000 more threatenedhttps://t.co/tlfTa3mwvT pic.twitter.com/PMJAeivbjP — San Diego Union-Tribune (@sdut) December 7, 2017 Horse rescues have happened elsewhere this week. In Ojai in Ventura County, a group of volunteers organized themselves over Facebook and told photographers they'd saved some 100 horses from the nearby blaze. Horse rescuers gather near Ojai.Image: Noah Berger/AP/REX/ShutterstockCalifornia has been hit with multiple fires in multiple counties this week, stretching from Ventura in the north through LA County and Orange County right down to San Diego County. A deadly combination of strong Santa Ana winds and dry vegetation have led to the ongoing blazes. Over 200,000 people have been evacuated and the fires have affected some 9.5 million people. California's fire season has stretched later into the year than usual and local conditions are drier than normal. UPDATE Dec. 8 11:18 p.m. PT Video posted at the San Luis Rey Downs training center to Facebook Thursday showed the confusion as dozens of horses were set free amid the smoke. Some 25 horses are believed to have been killed by the fire. WATCH: California wildfire victims returning to their destroyed homes is absolutely heart-wrenching read more
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