Southern California

Horses Burned to Death at Family Ranch in Fast-Moving Creek Fire Near Sylmar

The Padilla family lost an estimated 30 horses to the flames after mandatory evacuations were ordered

As firefighters tenaciously battled flames from several major fires that all flared in just 24 hours in Southern California, animal lovers worried about their pet’s safety with as many as 150,000 people under mandatory evacuation orders. 

Many homeowners who are pet parents to cats, dogs and other small animals were able to flee the flames in time to head to safety, but not everyone was as lucky.

Virginia Padilla, whose family owns a ranch in Sylmar, had the devastating loss of at least 30 horses to the 11,000-acre blaze dubbed the Creek Fire.

Padilla said she was woken up at approximately 4 a.m. by the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s orders to evacuate immediately. She and her family were given just enough time to gather some necessities but not their horses, Padilla said.

Padilla expected that she would lose all the equines to the fire, but later saw her horse Ruben at Pierce College. According to Padilla, someone was able to save a few of her horses from the burning ranch.

Large animals were ordered to evacuate at Hansen Dam Equestrian Center, Pierce College and the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Once those shelters reached capacity, pet owners were directed to take their large animals to the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds. They were advised to take any medications their pets may need.

Padilla’s family owns more than 60 horses and said they will count how many of their equines survived the fire as soon as they are given the opportunity to do so.

The Creek Fire was reported as a 1,000-acre brush fire at 3:42 a.m. on Tuesday near Gold Creek and Little Tujunga by the Angeles National Forest. The blaze reached 11,000 acres by early afternoon, according to the LACFD.

The devastating blaze destroyed at least 30 homes and prompted mandatory evacuations that affected an estimated 150,000 residents, according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

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