Rescuers rally on social media to save horses from wildfires

Cheryl Sanders
December 8, 2017

A fast-moving brush fire near Bonsall has charred 150 acres, destroyed two buildings and damaged 12 others and prompted mandatory evacuations in the area.

Smoke from the Lilac Fire is visible from an automated camera on Red Mountain near Fallbrook.

The Lilac Fire, the sixth fire, erupted Thursday morning in San Diego County near Bonsall.

A major contributing factor to the rapid spread of the fire was the intense Santa Ana winds, which apparently downed palm trees and allowed new fires to begin. Cal Fire officials said 20 structures were destroyed and several remain threatened as the fire grows at a risky rate of speed. Two firefighters battling the blaze have been hospitalized and were expected to recover.

The Liberty Fire was one of six affecting the region and prompting at least 160,000 people to flee their homes.

Britney Eurton, a reporter with horse-racing channel TVG, tweeted that Del Mar officials were preparing to take in as many San Luis Rey horses as possible.

The evacuations include a mobile home park, a golf course country club and two schools.

The fire started early Thursday afternoon near the junction of Interstate 15 and California Highway 76, about four miles northeast of the training center, and was said to be moving quickly because of the winds, according to media reports.

"This is not something that we're not used to seeing, it's just not typical", said Cal Fire Captain Jon Heggie.

Evacuation Warnings are in effect in North of Pala Rd.

In a message posted on the Del Mar Racetrack Twitter page Thursday afternoon prior to the fire at San Luis Rey, the track encouraged evacuees to bring bedding, feed and horse identification to make the process go as smoothly as possible. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known.

"So now, you combine that with the high wind that we're expecting, and all the dry brush, really that is a unsafe situation for everybody here in San Diego", said Heggie.

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