It’s hard to tally the tragic toll of wildfires when many of them still burn out of control.
More than 100,000 people are on the move in Southern California, chased by fast-moving fires that even an army of firefighters is struggling to keep in check.
There are six fires that together are larger in size than New York City and Boston combined. The biggest of those blazes — dubbed the Thomas Fire — has devoured an estimated 230,000 acres.
Many animals have not survived the fires, including nearly 50 racehorses that were killed at a training center in San Diego County by flames or smoke inhalation. Dozens more horses died at ranches and barns throughout the area, also due to the blazes.
But sometimes, a single act of compassion can tip the scales toward hope.
This panicked horse had tried to flee in a fire in Sylmar — only to fall into a crevice. Gina Silva, a news reporter at Fox 11 Los Angeles, was covering the wildfires in the area when she came across the animal.
“Horse needs help!!! Stuck in a tiny gap,” she tweeted.
Moments later, firefighters made their way to the scene, along with a battalion of volunteers.
The terrified animal was lifted from the crevice and transported to a hospital. From there, the horse, whose name is Kenny, was taken to an evacuation barn — one of many structures hastily built to house four-legged refugees.
Matt Ciociolo, a volunteer who has been rescuing horses along the wildfire’s warpath, tells MNN the horse has since been reunited with his owner.
And Kenny — back on his hooves, with a bandage covering one leg and another around his neck — is expected to make a full recovery.
And so too, will the spirits of a thousands, human and animal alike — with a little time. And a lot of compassion.
Editor's note: This story has been updated.