Rachel Hanley arrived in San Diego Wednesday after a 12-hour
drive from her home in Colorado Springs, Colo. She parked her truck
at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, home of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club,
and set to work caring for some of the more than 2,500 horses that
have been given shelter there from the region's firestorm.
"There are a lot of displaced folks, but they seem to be taken
care of," says Ms. Hanley. "But these animals are really scared, and
not a lot of people can handle them. People are helping the fire
victims of San Diego in all sorts of ways. Mine just happens to be
At least 1,000 volunteers have turned out in recent days,
arriving at the fairgrounds and Qualcomm Stadium, evacuation
central, to offer their services to the fire-besieged - everything
from medical skills to yoga instruction.
Likewise, fire crews who've been battling the blazes since
Saturday are seeing reinforce- ments arrive, as fires that had
blackened nearly 500,000 acres by Thursday morning continue to burn
throughout San Diego County. Eight deaths have been attributed to
the southern California fires, and in a bit of bad news that
represents the opposite spirit of the volunteer corps, authorities
reported that arson is the suspected cause of two wildfires to the
north - one in Orange County and one in Riverside County.
Among the firefighters who have worked to contain the San Diego
fires are crews from Tijuana and Tecate in Mexico. "It is very
important for Mexico to cooperate with the United States in
situations like these because these fires affect the environment on
both sides," said Capt. Marco Antonio Garambullo, Tecate's Fire
Mexico has also sent electricity to the area. A fire cut a main
power link with Arizona, and a blaze near the Marine base at Camp
Pendleton was, at press time, threatening the main north-south power
corridor that connects San Diego with the rest of California.
The Mexican firefighters have since returned home to battle their
own fires, but caravans of fire crews from northern California,
Oregon, Idaho, and Washington continued to roll into San Diego on
Wednesday. About 950 firefighters from the US Forest Service will
arrive soon, the Federal Emergency Management Agency reported.
Away from the fire lines, average Americans with strong arms and
big hearts threw their energies into helping all creatures, great
and small, survive the fires as comfortably as possible. …