A safe spot for larger animals during the Detwiler Fire

Just a few of the 30 horses temporarily evacuated to the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds because of the Detwiler Fire in Mariposa.
Just a few of the 30 horses temporarily evacuated to the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds because of the Detwiler Fire in Mariposa. Sierra Star

As of Wednesday morning, 33 horses, 10 goats, two mini horses, and two donkeys from Mariposa were safe and sound in temporary housing on the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds.

Tanner Tweed, owner, and Donney Linderholm, manager, had been up all night accepting large animals evacuated because of the Detwiler Fire.

It’s a family affair, with Linderholm’s wife, Kim, and 16-year-old daughter, Katie, pitching in. Along with that help comes spontaneous support, like a much needed hug from Kim to a woman in tears as she dropped off her horse.

“We’ve had people show up in tears, in fear that their homes are burning, not knowing if they will have a home to go to,” an exhausted Tweed said. “They were going to cut their fences and just let their horses go, spray painting phone numbers and addresses on their horses ... definitely a last resort and desperate measure ... so us staying up all night is nothing compared to what they are going through.”

“The community has stepped up to help,” Linderholm added. “Residents who live along Trabucco and Wells roads near the rodeo grounds have dropped off water buckets. Box Feed and Gina Samper donated hay, and Coarsegold’s Mountain Feed & Nursery also gave feed, along with water troughs ... we’re at this as long as it takes. Sleep will come second.”

This is the second time the grounds have been opened for larger animals during fire season.

“Last year, it was more preventative,” Tweed continued. “It wasn’t to the extent we are seeing with the Detwiler Fire. One of my friends is a contracted dozer operator working the fire, and he told me it’s the fastest moving fire he’s ever seen, faster than they can keep up with.

“We’re helping in a very small way, but we’re a community and we all need to come together to help whatever way we can. As long as the fire is going, we’re open for evacuees. A lot of people are in despair right now, and anything we can do to help, we’re here.”

Another 20 or so large animals were expected to be dropped off later that afternoon, and West said water troughs, feed and volunteers are needed. Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds has offered safe housing for these animals at their own expense.

Those needing a spot for their animals are asked to contact Tweed at (559) 994-2794 so the staff can prepare makeshift pens for their arrival.

The Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds is located at 44777 Rodeo Grounds (off Road 415) in Coarsegold.

For smaller animals

The Central California Animal Disaster Team has two emergency shelters for smaller animals in Oakhurst, one in the EV Free Church on School Road, and the other in the Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church on Highway 41.

According to CCADT shelter manager Steve Bell, there are 60 dogs, 65 cats and seven birds at EV Free, and 30 cats, 29 dogs, one duck and three birds at Sierra Vista.

Pet owners must stay at the Red Cross emergency shelter to utilize CCADT services.