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those couple of hours we had gotten
A fire this big, up close, is amazing
some sleep. It was a torrent of fire and
and frightening. As you stand there and
fire tornados raging all over the place. I
watch it, it takes on a demonic feel, it
quickly called John and his crew, as well
is almost alive. It rises and rages and
as Sheri Lefman who also has a small
twists and jumps and strikes out in
business at our property. Everyone
intense anger at everything in its way.
arrived, coming through the south end
The flames go dozens of feet in the
of the canyon and not seeing what was
air and can almost hypnotize you. The
happening up the valley. I had already
speed the fire changes, rushes along and
called for trailers to evacuate and when
moves is what is so deceptive, people
the discussion turned to “choices”, I
think they can out run it but they can’t.
said their only choice was where they
In one of the canyons today the fire
wanted their horses to go…we had to
turned so fast that the firemen got
get out right now.
trapped and couldn’t out run it, they hit
Within an hour we had all our horses
the ground, covered themselves with
off the property and on their way to
an emergency fire sheet and laid there
either the OC Fairgrounds, the Oaks/
while it went right over them. Situations
Blenheim or Coto de Caza. Then the
like this can, and do, kill people and
frantic call from John Bragg’s barn in
have killed firemen but this group was
Rancho Santa Fe, so we dropped off
lucky and they made it through!
our horses and ran down the freeway to
At four in the morning we finally got
get them out. Those horses came north
another couple of hours sleep before
to Orange County since all the San
starting again all day Tuesday doing the
Diego/Del Mar facilities were already
same thing.
full. Just as we got those settled, another
In the mean time the saga of our
call from the Silverado Canyon area in
property went on. First, it was safe as
the hills, then another from Rancho
the fire went on down the canyon, then
Bernardo, then another from Bonsall,
it came up over the ridge and came
then another from Escondido. All day
straight at the farm. The fire department
long the trucks streamed up and down
decided to use it as a command center
the freeways into the hills picking up
because the trucks could come in and
horses anywhere they could be found.
out and park easily. It worked in our
Racing back to the canyon to get some
best interest as they laid down fire
stragglers, we came right into the face
retardant on the hills adjacent to the
of the fire. Not twenty-thirty feet from
property, and we were safe. Then they
us, it proved just how terrifying Mother
went on down the canyon to Mojeska
Nature can be. The sound is the most
which was on fire and devouring
amazing thing. We could see and smell
houses. All of a sudden the fire turned
the fire, we could feel the heat and
again and headed for the property once
we could almost taste the terror as we
again on its way to Williams Canyon
went so close. But the mind does not
that is adjacent to our place. Burning
comprehend the sound of fire being
a dozen or so houses, and missing our
fueled as fast as it was. The Sherriff
place by inches, it raged on up over the
directed us up the very narrow Mojeska
ridge and went toward Coto and the
Canyon and within minutes it became
Portola hills.
dangerously obvious that my oversized
We could at least breathe..but only
six and a half horse trailer was just too
for a few hours. The winds died down
long to safely make the turns.
and that allowed the fire to sort of take
Actually, on another day, I could
on a mind of its own and this evening
possibly have made the turns but the
it raged back to the areas it had already
action thirsty public had come into
come through and took another
the canyons and parked their cars on
furious shot at the canyons again. Now
the very narrow canyon lanes and then
our property was in a direct path. The
walked away and on into the fire area
fire department set up another center
to sight see, blocking the road for not
on the farm and began to set back fires
only my big trailer but also for the fire
to keep it out of Williams and Mojeska
department. Sheriff Officers had to
but it never slowed down a bit. Our hay
leave the job of directing traffic and
went up and the shaving but it missed
come into the canyons, already on fire,
the big barns and went on about its
and try to get people to move their cars
destruction in Hang Man’s Canyon
and get to safety. We finally found a place
on its way to Dove Canyon. Tonight
where we and the fire trucks could turn
we got in there for a few minutes and
around and we went another route with
Chad put out any embers still glowing,
the fire actually lapping at us as we went.
then they kicked everyone out again.

47
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