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Equine Evac mobilizes to care for large animals from the Alisal fire as the acreage spreads

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The growing Alisal fire along the Santa Barbara County coast has created a growing concern from the owners of large animals.

39 horses and a goat were the first group to fill the Earl Warren Showgrounds stables when they were evacuated.

The Equine Evac non-profit mobilized within minutes of the fire Monday afternoon.

The group has a trailer at the Earl Warren and supplies to handle evacuated animals. They also have a vet ready to go if there are any serious concerns with the animals.

Horse owner Amisha Zuber was nervous during the evacuation near El Capitan at the Orella Ranch.
"Just the fear, it was coming . The sky was clear but when I got there I could definitely smell smoke."

The help was an emotional moment for her.
"It's an incredible thing  that we have  somewhere to  to bring the horses," she said with a tearful message.

One horse was 39 years old and hasn't been in a trailer in 15 years. She said the transportation went smoothly.

Fire crews by the hundreds are arriving to deal with the erratic nature of the fire.

Canyons were filling with fire and smoke after big blasts of wind. Flames whipped around in circles at time.

It's an area that last burned in 1955.

Santa Barbara Fire Captain Daniel Bertucelli said, "you couple that with 40 to 50 mile an hour winds, extensive drought and steep topography and it is a perfect storm of a fire. That is going to be challenging to contain and control."

 On one flank there's a buffer from the Sherpa fire scar that burned about seven years ago.   If it gets there, "it allows us to get crews on the ground safer and our air is more effective on a fuel bed that is  six  or seven years old," said Bertucelli.

The massive fire forced the closure of Highway 101 Monday and it remains closed indefinitely.

Santa Barbara County Supervisors declared a local state of emergency at its meeting Tuesday.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3. To learn more about John, click here.


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