Dozens of horses perish in US fires

2017-12-10 06:35
Firefighters monitor one of the fires as it ravages the Los Padres National Forest in California. (Noah Berger, AP)

Firefighters monitor one of the fires as it ravages the Los Padres National Forest in California. (Noah Berger, AP)

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Bonsall - A line of charred stables running down blackened hills have become graveyards for dozens of horses caught in the raging flames of a southern California wildfire that burned them alive.

"It was hell," said a security employee at the San Luis Rey Training Centre in Bonsall, an hour north of San Diego. It was "the worst night of my life".

The man said that 75% of the stables were razed by the fire, where about 500 elite horses were stabled and trained.

"They're the most highly bred," and in "several barns here the cheapest horse is $250 000".

Turned into torches

Seeing the blaze approaching at high speed, they decided to release the horses to give them a chance to escape.

As the air clogged with smoke the terrified horses neighed and galloped in circles, lost.

San Diego County, which includes Bonsall, is horse country, dotted with vast, opulent ranches in a landscape that evokes Tuscany with palm trees.

But these desert trees, which line the roads of the region, turned into torches overnight, as fire driven by winds gusting upwards of 130km/h swallowed whole hills in minutes.

Thousands of firefighters are still battling six major wildfires in California that have destroyed hundreds of structures and devastated tens of thousands of acres of land.


Read more on:    us  |  fires

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