Creek Fire’s Mass Horse Deaths Prompts Calls For Change

California Wildfires

After 29 horses died in last month’s San Fernando Valley wildfire, the City Council voted to address shortcomings to evacuation strategies.

In the wake of the deaths of 29 horses in last month’s Creek Fire in the San Fernando Valley, the Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to devise some new strategies on the evacuation of horses and other large animals during emergencies.

The wind-driven Creek Fire, which broke out near Sylmar on Dec. 5 and grew to more than 15,000 acres, destroyed a number of buildings, including a stable where the horses were killed.

The 11-0 vote by the council directs the Department of Animal Services, with the assistance of the fire and police departments and Los Angeles Equine Advisory Commission, to report on strategies to increase cooperation and partnership between the city and the equestrian community on the evacuation of horses and other large animals during emergencies.

Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who represents the area impacted by the Creek Fire, introduced the motion.

“I know that this would be a tremendous benefit to the city overall …,” she said. “I think it’s important to look at the lessons learned and be sure that we address some of our shortcomings so that we’re more effective in these evacuations going forward.”