Santa Cruz County, California, Horses Displaced by Wildfire

High temperatures, dry conditions, and blustery Santa Ana winds are feeding a wildfire that forced the evacuation of more than 40 horses in Santa Cruz County, California.

The so-called Loma fire began Sept. 26 in Santa Cruz County. The blaze forced the mandatory evacuation of residents, horses, and other livestock, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). By Sept. 28, the wildfire had consumed 2,250 acres and was just 10% contained, Cal Fire's website said.

The Santa Cruz County Equine Evacuation Team, a division of the Santa Cruz Office of Emergency Services, began transporting horses belonging to owners residing in the designated area once the evacuation order was given, the team's website said. Some of those animals were transported to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.

“We had 24 (horses), but five of them went back (to their homes),” shelter director Melanie Sobel said Sept. 28. “We don't know how long we'll have the others because we don't know if their owners have lost their homes in the fire.”

In the meantime, another group of about 20 horses is residing at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. How long the animals will remain there is also uncertain.

“We don't know yet,” said Lynne Grossi, the fairgrounds management team administrator. “But it's cooler today, so hopefully (the fire crews) can get the fire contained.”

While firefighters continue to battle the blaze, the cause of the Loma fire remains under investigation, Cal Fire said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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