The flames can be seen from space; a quiet, distant imagery that seems utterly removed from the chaos that’s currently erupting in Southern California. As of Monday, December 4, 2017, multiple large wildfires have engulfed Los Angeles County and its surrounding areas and portions of San Diego County, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.

Together, the Creek, Thomas, Rye, Skirball in the Los Angeles; and Lilac fire near San Diego have destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings, leaving California in a state of emergency.

The 11,000-acre Creek fire claimed show jumping facility Middle Ranch, a multi-trainer haven for Meadowgrove Stables’ Francie Steinwedell Carvin, Dick Carvin, and Zazou Hoffman; Susan Artes Stables; Archie Cox’s Brookway Stables, and others. Fortunately, all horses, animals, and people were evacuated and escaped unscathed, though Rancho Padilla, a facility one mile north of Middle Ranch, lost 29 horses in the blaze.

The situation continues to worsen as the fast-moving fires leave residents with minimal time to evacuate. On Thursday, the Lilac fire (pictured above and in the video below) began as a separate grass fire near San Diego and quickly raged out of control, forcing a large-scale evacuation of the San Luis Rey Training Center in Bonsall, which houses 500 Thoroughbreds. As seen in the video below, the location has been declared unsafe for vehicles to continue evacuation efforts, and the horses were set loose in order to increase their chances of survival.

As of Thursday, totals were unknown, but it is estimated that up to 25 had died.

Frantic horses run loose as Lilac Fire threatens Bonsall barn

Frantic horses run loose as #LilacFire threatens Bonsall (Video: The San Diego Union-Tribune) barn http://via.kswbtv.com/7o6OKHere's the latest on evacuations: http://via.kswbtv.com/a3l7P

Posted by FOX 5 San Diego on Thursday, December 7, 2017

Whether you’re in California or a world away, you can help the people and animals affected by this devastation. Here’s how:

1. If you’re nearby, volunteer. 

  • With more than 9,000 members, the Southern California Equine Emergency Evacuation is a volunteer-based group that coordinates evacuation efforts. Visit their Facebook page for more information on how you can get involved.
  • Currently housing approximately 850 evacuated horses, the Del Mar Fairgrounds will need an influx of volunteers around 10 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. today. For updates and information, click here.

2. Donate.

The Del Mar Fair Grounds is in need of buckets, feed, bedding, hay, hay nets, and halters. For their location, click here. Not on the ground? Click here for updates on how you can donate to the cause. Monetary donations supporting the Del Mar Fairgrounds’ animal evacuation efforts are currently being accepted via check, which can be made out to “Friends of the San Diego County Fairgrounds.” Please write “Fire Evacuation” in the memo line to donate directly to evacuation efforts and mail to:

Del Mar Fairgrounds
2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
Del Mar, CA 92014

3. Stay Informed.

  • The Southern California Equine Emergency Evacuation group is coordinating volunteer efforts in the area in real-time. Check their page for updates or to find out where you can volunteer.
  • If you’ve evacuated horses and need a place to layover, HITS Thermal at the Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California is currently accepting horses free of charge. For more information, call: 845-246-8833.

*We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.