When the Saddleridge Fire came dangerously close to a ranch in Sylmar, California, the community came to the rescue of the 40 horses threatened by the blaze.
The horses were pacing nervously, unsure what to do amid the smoke and nearby flames. The fire, which has so far burned nearly 8,000 acres in the northern San Fernando Valley, shut down highways, schools and businesses and forced more than 100,000 people to evacuate the area, reports KABC.
Alejo Morales of Saddletree Ranch Equestrian Center told KCAL that the fire raced in.
"I went to get some sodas down at the liquor store," he says, "and when I came [back up], I saw big smoke."
The ranch staff worked quickly to get the horses to safety, but they knew they needed help.
"No matter how good you prepare, which we had ... plans for how to get in and get out in case of fire, but [this fire], it was too fast," said ranch worker Horacio Diaz.
Morales sent out an SOS on social media asking for assistance. An army of friends and strangers arrived with trailers to help move the horses away from the blaze.
"We had a lot of friends that came through and helped us," Morales says. "We started getting phone calls and [more] phone calls, and people just started piling up and getting the horses [out.] "
Even with so many horses and so much smoke and fire, the horses all managed to get out safely. And the ranch workers were able to fight off most of the flames with hoses, saving the property.
Unfortunately, KCAL reports that looters got away with several thousand dollars worth of property.
Things could have been a lot worse, and for that the workers are grateful.
"We want to thank the whole community for helping us out. They really came through for us," says Diaz.