San Diego Fires – Helen Woodward Animal Center

Bernardo Fire Evacuations

Carrying adoptable pets to cars for evacuation

Carrying adoptable pets to cars for evacuation

On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, Helen Woodward Animal Center evacuated over 400 animals due to the threat of the Bernardo Fire, in Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks Ranch. Animal evacuees included:

  • Adoptable dogs, cats, kittens and puppies, some needing medical care
  • Pet Encounter Therapy animals such as guinea pigs, birds, reptiles, and rabbits
  • Farm animals from our Education program including miniature horses, alpacas, and sheep
  • Therapeutic Riding horses
  • Canine, feline and exotic pet guests staying at our boarding facility, Club Pet
  • Equine hospital patients
Smoke from Bernardo Fire, seen from Helen Woodward Animal Center

Smoke from Bernardo Fire, seen from Helen Woodward Animal Center

Around 2 p.m. on that day, businesses and neighborhoods surrounding Helen Woodward Animal Center received the call to evacuate as the Bernardo Fire had crept along San Dieguito, the road that hugs Helen Woodward Animal Center’s southern flank.

We just couldn’t take the chance that the fire would miss the Center. Staff and volunteers on Center grounds sprang into action and a Facebook announcement and tweets went out asking for assistance with horse trailers and drivers for large animals. Within minutes, emails and phone calls flooded in as San Diego animal lovers across the county rallied to help Helen Woodward Animal Center’s displaced animals.

Orphan pets still need help. Donate to help them find forever homes or be a foster parent and temporary care for pets in need.

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With the help of dozens of volunteers, local businesses and organizations, we were able to safely evacuate over 400 animals in less than three hours.

The next day, all animals returned from their “sleep overs” to the Center and it was back to the business of saving lives.

We are so grateful to our San Diego community. We received over 700 emails, tweets and Facebook comments offering trailers, housing, crates, food, fostering and donations. In fact, when other ranches in the area needed large animal transportation, it was our community that stepped in to assist them.

We could not have evacuated so safely and efficiently without the help of you, San Diego. Thank you so much for your help. An extra special shout-out to OUR FIRST-RESPONDERS WHO KEPT US SAFE, especially the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District.

Bernardo Fire Thank You

Thank you to these local businesses and organizations for their help in transporting, housing and caring for our animals:

Our friends on Facebook and Twitter

Helen Woodward Animal Center volunteers

SeaWorld San Diego

Mission Animal and Bird Hospital

Pooch Hotel

Jagger and Kristi from Magic 92.5

California Veterinary Specialists

Media outlets: ABC Channel 10, NBC San Diego, CBS Channel 8, KUSI Channel 9, CW San Diego 6, Fox 5 San Diego

Del Mar Fairgrounds

San Diego Polo Fields

Rancho Coastal Humane Society

Petco Unleashed Encinitas


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