Neighbor opens doors for evacuated horses during Wragg Fire

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Friday, July 24, 2015
Rancher near Wragg Fire opens doors for horses
One rancher near the Wragg Fire opened his doors to any evacuated horses that need a safe place to go.

YOLO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The Wragg Fire, burning near Lake Berryessa, has not only displaced people from their homes it's also disrupting animals and livestock. The area around the fire line is considered horse country by many.

Wednesday evening ABC7 News caught video of horses and cattle scurrying across a hillside, trying to escape the flames.

A former horse boarding facility owner, near the Wragg Fire, opened his doors to any evacuated horses that need a safe place to go.

A large animal evacuation center has been set up in the town of Winters, in Yolo County. About two dozen prize show horses came into the center after the fire prompted evacuations and sent their owner looking for some place to go. That's when a Good Samaritan stepped in to help.

The Wragg Fire took off overnight, burning over 6,000 acres. Sky7 HD caught video of livestock and horses running, left to fend for themselves. It sent Winters resident Ernie Gadini into action.

"I don't want to see any animals get injured from a doggone fire," Gadini said.

Gadini closed his horse boarding facility several years ago, but reopened the stalls Wednesday to animals in need.

"I love animals and I was not going to let these horses get burned up in a fire when I have facility to get them out of there," Gadini said.

Gadini put out the word and hours later horse owner and fire evacuee Jenn Hess showed up and started transporting 20 prize American Saddlebreds. The move took all night.

"It was very stressful and I was concerned because some of them are yearlings and we have a baby, and they've never been in a trailer before," Hess said.

But everyone made it out of the evacuation area just fine, giving Hess time to breathe.

PHOTOS: Large fire burns south of Lake Berryessa

Marcel Losekoot and Gabrielle Nevitt live close to the fire. They're looking for temporary shelter for their chickens, turkeys and several pet emus.

"We made a plan, but we don't have enough space to take everybody, so we're trying to make a list of who stays and who goes," Winters resident Marcel Losekoot said.

Ernie says he has room for more, even emus.

"It's unbelievable -- a neighbor who opens up his place to animals. It's great," Nevitt said.

Meantime, Hess is happy for the safe haven. She's very thankful and says it means everything to her.

Gadini refuses to take any money for the shelter. He says they can stay as long as they want, which may be several days.

Prepare NorCal: Disaster preparedness resources

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