Wildfires in Southern California
Your SoCal CMK
Heritage Friends Report...
Update from Melissa
Paul, Curator, W.K.Kellogg Arabian Horse
Library. Friday morning, November 14, 2003
You may be wondering why I haven't been posting--haven't been online. My
horses are all home (3 came on Saturday afternoon and evening and 1 on
Monday morning). However, things weren't right. One mare, my *Nariadni
daughter, was a bit "off" on Sunday afternoon. Checked on her at 10
Sunday night and she looked droopy. Vet was supposed to come after they
were all home, and so he was going to come on Tuesday. But on Monday
Pavlovaa was definitely sick, and I told him he needed to come NOW! She
had a temperature of 104.5 and was given Banamine and prescribed Bute and
antibiotics. She also has some burns around 3 of her hooves that I am
treating. All seem to be healing and aren't painful. The other (Precious
Karab) mare has burns near 2 of her hooves, but they aren't bad. I'm
washing, dressing, and wrapping their legs every day. Also, Precious has
had swelling in her eyes off and on. She's getting an antibiotic/steroid
eye ointment. More details later.
Thanks again to all who have sent assistance. It has helped A LOT!
Update from Melissa
Paul, Curator, W.K.Kellogg Arabian Horse
Library. Wednesday evening, November 5, 2003
This is just a brief update, since as usual lately I'm exhausted. Had to
go in to work yesterday and today due to the Arabian Advisory Committee
meeting on campus, but they didn't manage to stop by and see the Library.
So, I could have been doing fire clean-up and repair. Except that maybe a
couple days off from the heavy work might have done me some good. Went to
the Advisory Committee dinner this evening with the staff at the Arabian
Horse Center, committee members, and the Kellogg Foundation rep at the
Restaurant at the Kellogg Ranch. Was delicious and I didn't have to cook
when I got home (been so tired all I want to do is throw a potato in
the microwave). May post info about what I heard regarding the meeting
once I remember what they told me.
Lots of work done over the past weekend. Jim Eagleson and Janet Stevenson and some other friends dropped by to help out. I think
they did most of the work, while I watched in some sort of braindead fog.
Jim was back on Sunday and did an incredible amount of back-breaking work.
Bought a new wheelbarrow/garden cart at Orchard Supply Hardware on Sunday.
This one is supposed to hold 200lbs. Believe me we put it to the test
hauling out loads of (now) wet ashes. Bought new wheels to replace the
melted ones on the old utility cart (which doesn't like holding hundreds
of pounds of wet ashes), new padlocks for the corrals, new hoses, and
assorted other supplies also at OSH.
Monday started out with me hauling loads of ashes out of the mares' corral
(the one with the most damage), so that they can come home first (don't
want one of the stallions to come first and be alone before the others
arrive). Then it began to rain, something for which I wasn't prepared.
So, I stopped and ran numerous errands. Got my cell phone with the broken
antenna (that wouldn't work during the fire--now THAT is frightening)
replaced (as in activated) with one I got off Ebay for $23 including
delivery (one can't be too frugal!). Went to my vet's house in Chino to
pick up tranquilizer for the one stallion who is hot and spooky (and who
had never been in a trailer until the fire), so that he can remain calm
for the return trip. My vet came rushing up the morning JUST following
the fire and gave a big dose of Dormosedan (yeah that stuff the western
guys use to, uh, cheat) to poor Beyonnet who had totally checked out by
then. The stall he was standing in had to be doused to stop it smoking
right before he got his injection. We had to get him out in a hurry as
the fire department wasn't sure if the fire would come back.
The hauling wasn't going very fast on Sunday, and Jim E. suggested I find
a mini tractor of some kind to scoop the ashes up and haul them out.
After the rain began on Monday, I decided to call around the local
equipment rental places looking for a garden tractor small enough to fit
through the pipe corrals gates (48" wide--I know, I measured!). After
going to look, I found one that fits the bill--it's a Bobcat with a scoop
bucket in front. One walks behind it and it operates with levers. It is
a diesel (with glow plugs--as you may guess, I've never driven a diesel
anything). Practiced in the rental yard parking lot, and it seemed easy
enough. THEY said I could do it. We shall see.*g* Then went to MD
Enterprises, the stall manufacturer, to check out prices on a replacement
barn (2 stall). Well, that is definitely out! Wow are barns expensive
these days. I am thinking of looking for a used portable metal one that
no one wants anymore and trying to get it moved. That is if I qualify for
any of the state or federal grants (and that does NOT look promising at
the moment). Will have to post of my experiences at the disaster
headquarters (the Hughes Center in Claremont) last Friday. All 5+ hours
of it (complete with scads of reporters and 2 governors).
Monday when I got home I found 4 brand new halters had arrived in the
mail. I also found some very much appreciated checks
had arrived too. Thank you, thank you I am really grateful (and I'll be
writing to each one of you privately too)!
Tomorrow the little Bobcat thing will be delivered, and I have it for the
whole day. Hope I don't mow down any of the pipe corrals. Anybody in
the area who has any tractor-driving experience feel free to stop by.
I hope to bring the horses home on Saturday. Jim E. has generously
brought his trailer. Precious Karab (29), Pavlovaa (21), and Beyonnet
(21) are all still in Chino at Prado Equestrian Center. Auromas (aka
Jekyll, 25) is at San Dimas Equestrian Center in San Dimas.
Must fall into bed now so I can be up early. And I *intended* to be
Help is Needed at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Please go to
our Aid and Resources Page for more
information on how you can help. Posted: October 31, 2003.
Help Needed. Thursday, October 30, 2003. From Melissa
Paul, Curator, W.K.Kellogg Arabian Horse
"I hardly know where to begin, but I am in need of help of all kinds.
There is an incredible amount of ash, burned, and dead materials in the
horse corrals, and I need assistance in clearing it out. One of the 24
foot pipe corral sections was taken down to get the mares out (it was
burning by the gate so that route couldn't be used). I can't lift it by
myself to put the fence back together. Plus my ratchet wrench set was in
the barn. I think it was steel, so probably is intact, the only problem
is finding it in the rubble.
Pitchforks are needed, but mine burned. Pruning sheers too, but those are
gone. I think the ash should be wet down but all my long hoses, and most
of my short ones melted. Horses need to come back soon because of the
board bill for one thing. They are also old and are better in an
environment they know, as soon as it is safe. FYI, the one mare is 29 and
the other is 21. My stallions are 21 and 25. The owner of one facility
wants my one stallion she has to come back quickly since people who moved
their horses from her stable because of fear of the approaching fire are
bringing their horses back, so space is an issue.
Water came back on today, and I've got it back running to the tanks in
some of the corrals. None of the gold fish in the tanks died, amazingly!
These are oh, I don't know, 100 to 150 gallons each. Need to get them
cleaned somewhat, although they don't look bad. It's hoses I really need.
Two of about 25 feet and one that is a good 150 feet.
Today it started to rain so I had to run off to OSH and grab a tarp.
Naturally I bought one too big for the amount of hay I have now, but I was
in a big hurry. It's possible there was one in the dressing room of the
ANCIENT horse trailer, but the lock appears to be frozen, and I can't get
in. One guess as to where my can of WD40 was.
I had 3 wheelbarrows. One is more of a utility cart and luckily it has
all metal handles. Guess not aluminum since it didn't melt inside the
barn. It's wheels are burned off to the rims and are a non-standard size.
If I can find replacement wheels, this cart can be used again, it's just
blackened otherwise. My others fared worse. The big one had wood
handles which are now stumps. The wheel is gone. Salvaging anything from
it is doubtful. The small wheelbarrow had rubber over metal handles. The
rubber is gone. The solid rubber wheel is about 1/2 melted off.
The barn is not covered.:( I called the insurance company the other day
and they said no. When I switched companies several years ago, I didn't
check that all the riders were included. The barn wasn't. It is possible
I may get some help from FEMA or a state or local source. Finding that
out is going to take time though, and I have to get my horses settled
Some nice person is sending me 4 halters and lead ropes in the mail, so I
am well-covered in that area. I found one old bucket in the back of the
horse trailer. I've been using it to put out hot spots--found another
smoldering stump today and doused it. You can't imagine the amount of
devastation and all the work that needs to be done. All the buckets I
used for grain and stuff where lost in the barn, they were plastic.:( The
rubber feed tubs vanished without a trace somewhere in the ash.
That's a minimal description of the current situation. What I need are
hands and able bodies if anyone would like to come and help. If you have
a ratchet wrench set all the better! Wear a mask and bring work gloves
and gardening/barn tools. The corrals are behind 4710 Glen Way in
Claremont. That is north of Baseline and between Towne and Mountain. I
will be going up again later today and expect to be working all day
tomorrow and over the weekend. Anybody who can come by and help would be
One of my ex student assistants (she's graduated and is now a teacher)
came by last night with her husband. They gave me a much needed check
that will cover the load of hay I just got and part of the one vet bill so
far. I haven't gotten the board and hauling bills yet, but I know my
finances will not stretch that far, and I am very worried. I really don't
like to ask for financial help, but I don't have other options left."
1230 Cambridge Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
From Jim Eagleson. Tuesday Evening, October 28, 2003
"I got in touch with Howard and all is fine. He's had great difficulty calling out but all seems OK now."
(What Great News! Howard
Patton is very close to the Cedar Fire area and phone and
power lines had been down and out.)
Update and Some More Details. Tuesday Morning, October 28, 2003
"When I went to bed Saturday night the Grand Prix Fire was still miles
away, but it didn't stay that way. These fires are not behaving as ones
in previous years. They are extremely fast and unpredictable.
My horses were at the base of Claraboya in Claremont, and many houses in
Claraboya burned. I live about two miles south of the horses. I got the
call, I'm not sure, but around 3am Saturday night/Sunday morning to come
IMMEDIATELY. The fire came through Claraboya and wrapped around
Claraboya, at first coming from the east and soon from the west. My only
roads in are on the east and west. I was nearly trapped, only escaped by
driving through a wall of fire. Couldn't get my horses out in time, the
trailers did not arrive before I had to leave. But by some miracle they
survived. Neighbors helped and multiple people with trailers pitched in
once they were led down the street. For over 6 hours I thought they were
dead. My horses are still scattered, with 3 in Chino and 1 in San Dimas.
Janet S.[Stevenson], whose house and barn is just over the hill to the west, got her
horses out by leading and got them to Cal Poly where I work. Many of the
local facilities were full with evacuated horses.
The pipe corrals and all the shelters survived the fire, although parts of
the ground were still very hot and smoking as of last night. My barn
literally melted in place. All my hay burned. Supplies and equipment are
under the melted debris of the feedroom stall. Presumed lost. No water
on the property yet, hope to have it by the weekend. As soon as there is
water, my horses will return. Hay delivery is Wednesday. They are going
to put pallets down on the charred ground to keep the hay out of the
Am still exhausted and not sleeping too well."
Mary Jane Parkinson, author of The Kellogg Arabian Ranch. (East San Diego area)
Tuesday Morning, October 28, 2003
[we are] okay. Recommended,
not mandatory, evacuation on Sunday evening. Packed
up all small four-legged creatures and went to Nancy's house. Came home
about midnight. The air is absolutely rotten, no signs of improving really.
No schools in session here yesterday or today. Friends in Jamul had fire
one-eighth mile from their house. Saved by a change of wind. The local
forecasters say the Santa Ana is over, but we're all still nervous around
here. My brother and sister-in law lived (he died about two years ago) in
Alpine, and Jan called me yesterday to say the house burned, along with the
shop where my brother designed and created cars. A lot of family items lost
there, I'm afraid. This is far worse than 1970 fires which we all still
vividly remember. Kind and caring thoughts to all involved."
Marci de la Torre. Tuesday Morning, October
(Updating her post from yesterday)
"As of this morning (10/28) the news is reporting that the Mountain Fire (Temecula Fire) is 55% contained,
10,000 acres burned, 15 structures burned. This fire did its biggest
damage in the Sage/Tucalota Valley area. A number of horses have died.
They couldn't get them out in time. DLR ranch is one of the evacuation
centers. A number of horses have arrived there, burned. There have been
euthanasias as well, but I do not know the specifics."
Sidney Rae Fox. Tuesday Morning, October
(Updating her post from yesterday)
"God Bless all who have lost or not lost but had to survive this frightening adventure. I
am happy to read on the SoCal CMK pages all have found their animals or could place
them in safe shelters."
Nicole Kinsey. Monday Evening, October 27, 2003.
"We're in Norco and safe from the fires, but even in areas that aren't
directly threatened it's surreal. The sky has been a dark
orange-grey, everything is covered in ash, and the everything smells
of smoke. It's terrifying. I have thought of nothing all weekend but those who
are threatened and their animals."
Marci de la Torre. Monday Evening, October 27, 2003.
"We are safe for now. The closest fire is approximately 20 miles East of us
at the eastern end of Temecula - beyond the wineries - I hope and pray it
stays there. A large group has been evacuating horses to the DLR Ranch,
which is a very large show facility in Temecula (close to Mekeel's and Green
Acres). Reports (word of mouth) are that the fire swept through the
Sage/Tucolota Valley area where there are many large horse ranches. I have
heard from two different people that the fire was moving so fast that they
were unable to get all of the horses out and that some of the ones they did
move had been burned. I pray this isn't true and will keep trying to substantiate this awful story. Several friends of mine hooked up their
trailers and joined the group that has been helping move horses for residents all night.
I will let you know more as I hear it. This fire seems to have fallen off
the local TV radar scope. Last night they were calling it the Rancho
California fire. They may have changed to calling it something else. I'm
headed home at lunch to check on all my "babies" and will search the news
for any more details."
Jan Austin. Monday Morning, October 27, 2003.
"If anyone in S. CA needs help, PLEASE let me know. I can get quite a few
trailers together on fairly short notice and have room for some horses at my
place (Temecula area). My phone is 909-695-2043, 909-695-1043 or cell 909-833-8258. Also,
800-977-ARAB, or e-mail Jan Austin Fiernlace@AOL.COM
Leslie Benenson. Monday Morning, October 27, 2003.
of concern and prayers for safety have reached us all this morning from
England. Thank you Leslie for your phone call!
Melissa Paul. Monday Morning, October 27, 2003.
found Beyonet at Chino, same place as the girls. They just did not know
he was there. And thank you for your thoughts of concern and prayers for
our safety and welfare!"
Suzi Morris. Monday Morning, October 27, 2003.
sounds as if my horses in Temecula are out of harm's way and so are
Margaret Rich's at Green Acres. What a relief to know they are safe,
although suffering from a lot of smoky air. If you are in the Temecula
area and need some help, there is room for you at Green
Acres; just give them a call."
Melissa Paul. Sunday, October 26, 2003. 12:00 Noon.
post to let you all know my horses and I survived. The barn
is completely gone, a tangled mass of metal. The whole area is a moonscape.
I thought I was going to die. Walls of flame and basketball sized
fireballs flying by my head. My horses were screaming. I got halters on
only 3 of 4. My dog was in the car. Trailers were on the way when I had
to leave because a wall of flame was on my east exit and another on my west.
The wind wasn't high until the fire approached, then it created
it's own wind, very strong and hot. It was more horrible than I can describe.
The trailers couldn't make it through the fires then. I had to
leave and never have I felt such shame. I went west and there was so much
smoke and flame I couldn't see the bridge over the wash. So I got in the
middle of the road, aimed, and gunned my car. Expected my horses were dead,
NOTHING could live through that.
But the firestorm burned EVERYTHING around the pipe horse corrals, total
devastation. But it didn't get the horses. I thought they were dead for
hours (this was happening around 4 am)--not until at least 10am found they
had been saved. I don't know where all of them are. The two mares (ages
21 and 29) went to Prado Equestrian Center in Chino. I was told the stallions
(ages 21 and 25) went there but they didn't. I'm trying to
find them now and am about to drop. Just came home to feed my dogs and cats and
give their meds. Will grab a bite to eat and start searching.
I'm totally covered in ashes.
I hope no one has lost their family or pets. I know many houses have
burned to the ground in Claremont.
The hay inside the barn is still burning. The neighbors are trying to put it out.
I am so thankful that my horses are alive. When I went to the evacuation
center, the priest and I prayed and asked St. Francis for help. Please all of you say
a few prayers for all the fire victims.
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From Janet Stevenson. Sunday evening, October 26, 2003.
"Much gratitude and words of praise and thanks to
Bill Hughes and his Staff at the Cal Poly Arabian Horse Center for
sheltering my horses during our family's evacuation last night [Saturday] from the firestorm in the
hills of Claremont. They all should be able to return home soon, it appears
the firefighters are gaining control of the [Grand Prix] fire in our immediate
(For those of you who do not know her, Janet
is a friend and advocate for the Kellogg Heritage Herd Project at Cal Poly, Pomona.)
Links for More information on Firestorm 2003:
(Current as of: November 7, 2003)
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