Unfortunately, as the day wore on, the heat, ash, and smoke was becoming too intense, and a handful of wethers were not loaded in the final trailer. When the bucks were unloaded, I was looking for the wethers, and informed they couldn’t load them without the bucks trying to escape the trailer. Unfortunately, the wethers were left in their pen out of concern for predators, and not put out in the pasture as requested. At that point we had to wait, and hope the fire would miss us.
It did miss us, the first night, but on the evening of the 20th CalFire lit a backfire, that they lost control of as the wind shifted, and a fierce fire raged down Alba Road, consuming everything its path. The hay barn, workshop, well and spring water infrastructure, and devastatingly the buck barns were burned to the ground, including the wethers penned within. There was almost no sign of the enclosure, the roof completely collapsed, and just a concrete slab remained. The glass windows in the hay barn were melted into blobs of blue glass due to the intensity of the fire.
Our evacuation plan was pretty solid. Leave early (we did) and irrigate pastures incase we couldn’t get everyone out immediately. Multiple calls to Equine Evac, and Cowboy 911, went unanswered. We moved and hauled as well as we could, but the 10 hour stall at the Fairgrounds, was a killer. Literally. We lost 7 goats as a result. We left TWO DAYS before the fire ravaged the farm, but due to bureaucracy, inefficiency, and CalFire’s ineptitude, we still lost animals that should NEVER have been lost.
I will forever be heartbroken at losing any animals to this monstrous fire. I try to console myself with the fact that so many were safely evacuated, but any loss was one loss too many, and unacceptable. Of the seven lost, my wether, my special sweet snuggly cool dude, Jack, succumbed to the smoke and flames. I am devastated, and heartbroken Jack didn’t make the last trailer out. along with his best buddy Danny, Felix and Oscar, Licorice, Star, and Chip. While our breeding program, 10 years of effort was salvaged, it doesn’t make their loss any less heartbreaking. Pictured: Jack (2014-2020).
Focusing on the positive, the house, and doe barn were spared, and the majority of the herd was evacuated, along with their guardian dogs. However, there is a tremendous amount of infrastructure, and property damage. The boys barns are reduced to ash, the hay barn is gone, the workshop and all of the farm and kidding equipment destroyed. Fences are burned through, and both the spring and well water systems incinerated. We cannot return to the farm until potable water is restored.