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Sunday, May 18, 2014

San Diego Fires

This is a special update on the evacuation around San Diego.  The last few days have been some of the most dramatic and amazing events in my horse life.  I have never been so proud of people before.  Everyone came together to help the horses, dogs, cats and other animals needing shelter.  There were so many volunteers I think they outnumbered the horse people!  
It all started with a text from my friend Anna Buffini.  She wondered how we were doing as she had heard Albert Court was evacuated.  I had just gotten home from my morning at the barn and hadn’t heard anything.  I literally hung up from her and got a call from Korie.  I skipped my shower, jumped into clean clothes and head back to the barn.
By the time I got to the barn there had been a frenzy of packing and loading of the basics of what we thought we might need.  It is amazing what you select to value when you’re limited in space.  Really it was just the animals and their food and immediate health needs.  However, we didn’t know for how long we might be evacuated or if there would be anything to return to so we had to take enough for a few days.  Korie had us in the trucks and moving in under 20 minutes.  It was almost like an army going off to battle; we got in the trucks and headed to Del Mar.  There we were met with full barns and a ‘no room for you at the inn!’ I never realized how many horses there are in this small region of Southern California! So we headed to Del Mar race track where we found refuge.
My grandmother was worried during the evacuation that I hadn’t been home to eat all day and that I would pass out from hunger.   I had a case of water in my car, and Sheryl brought us some great snacks.  The excitement and high energy of the day, I think, had everyone working on fumes.  However the camaraderie, the feelings of accomplishment at handling a crisis so well, the stories bouncing around the barn, the unusualness of the situation made it a truly unforgettable day.  I am so proud of Christine’s barn manager Korie Hanseth.  She rocks!  Thanks to all the volunteers and to Del Mar l for taking us in, and thanks to Heather for lending us her trailer to transport our horses!
As you know the fires kept flaring over the next few days.  Although the horses were back home relatively quickly the fires moved to near grandma and my apartment.  I was at the barn with the horses and I was so worried about her.  She tends to be old school and, “stick it out” in her attitude.  Also I had the car so if they asked her to evacuate she had no way to leave.  I called my friend Owen who lives in our complex and had him on standby to rescue grandma.  When she received the reverse 911 to be prepared to evacuate she packed a small suitcase and was ready to go.  We did have some long discussions about the choices you make about what to rescue when you have only minutes to pack and you may lose everything.  What do you take?  Grandma wanted to rescue photo discs and my FEI medals!  I told her to just get herself out nothing else mattered.  She stubbornly packed the photos though.  Maybe it is age that makes memories of the past so precious but I was worried as without my parents here she is now becoming as much my responsibility as I am hers.  
Well we are back to a regular schedule and only a little smoke lingers in the air.  I want to take a moment to say thank you to all the amazing volunteers and especially the emergency response teams and our amazing firefighters. 

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