As wildfires ripped through Northern San Diego County on December 7, 2017, an outpouring of community support spread nearly as quickly to aid in horse and livestock evacuation efforts at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
More than 850 horses and other large animals including goats, pigs and llamas were rescued from the fires and brought to the Fairgrounds during the evacuation efforts. Approximately 400 of the horses were thoroughbreds from the fire-damaged San Luis Rey Training Center. They called the Del Mar Fairgrounds home for the winter while their stables were being rebuilt.
Donated items poured in from individuals, small businesses and major corporations bringing hay, bedding, food (an astounding 14.2 tons of apples and carrots) and other livestock supplies along with food and coffee for the staff and volunteers who worked around the clock. Volunteer veterinarians and vet techs cared for animals in need.
The Del Mar Fairgrounds also served the community as a fire evacuation site during wildfires in 2003, 2007 and 2014. Peak evacuation efforts were on display during the 2007 event when the Fairgrounds provided a safe haven to 2,300+ horses and livestock as well as 2,000+ human evacuees.
Our commitment to provide a safe haven for horses, livestock and members of the San Diego community during times of crisis remains an essential component of the mission of the Fairgrounds.