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Evacuated Horse Owners Take Shelter on Fiesta Island

More than 200 horses along with their owners were camping out on San Diego's man-made Fiesta Island this week because of the wildfires. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

Evacuated Horse Owners Take Shelter on Fiesta Island

More than 200 horses along with their owners were camping out on San Diego's man-made Fiesta Island this week because of the wildfires. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

Lee Smith of Jamul has been camping with his four horses - Dixie, Sunny, Chip and Mister Ed - along a stretch of Mission Bay. He's getting anxious to return to the nursery he owns.

Lee Smith from Jamul with horse

Lee Smith: Yeah, we have a 25-acre retail nursery. We haven't had water on it since Monday. And so you know it's a little tough to sit here when you work all the time and that's your passion and we have employees that can't get to work.

Smith is camping out with his wife, son, cat and dog in a makeshift community of more than 100 people, horse trailers, pick-up trucks and mobile homes.

Chris Richter is waiting to take his horses back to Ramona. He echoed the comments of many of his fellow campers who say city staff have been terrific.

Christopher Richter of Ramona with horse “Ruby.”

Chris Richter: San Diego has really pulled through to help us out and we really, really appreciate it. There's no way we can pay you back. I mean if something happens I would drop everything to bring things down to help you guys out and I really appreciate it.

He says San Diego city crews and volunteers have provided fresh water and hay for the horses -- even shoveling manure every day.  One El Cajon veterinarian provided free services. Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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