A small group of Albertans is packing up a trailer filled with 14,000 pounds of horse feed, and delivering it to Paradise, California.
The group is led by a retired rancher from Olds, Alta., Darrell Glover, who also founded a Facebook group called “Help Alberta Wildies.”
Glover said he felt he had to help when he heard about the devastating wildfires and how they affected not only the people down there but also the animals.
Glover organized a small fundraising effort, with the money going to help purchase hay cubes for the animals.
He said people from all over the province and Canada chipped in to help Californians. Some donations also came from as far away as Germany.
“We’re horse people. The people who made donations are horse people. We had emotional moments when we thought of people leaving their horses and if they would ever see them again,” Glover said.
“They’re taking in about 200 horses. The owners of the horses had to let them go. When they evacuated and left them fend for themselves,” he said.
Volunteer Lynne Bell helped load the trailer Thursday. She said the small gesture was a way to help our friends south of the border.
“It’s the Canadian way. Even if our neighbours are in another country, we still see them as neighbours,” Belle said.
The 300 bags of horse feed will be delivered to Camelot Equestrian Park in Oroville. Glover said he will be leaving Olds on Monday at dusk to personally deliver the horse feed down to Paradise.
Paradise was ravaged by the Camp Fire – the deadliest and most destructive fire in California’s history.
“It’s not like anything you can ever imagine, to be perfectly honest. The level of chaos and how quickly the fire consumed huge tracks of land,” Kristin Carter, Camelot Equestrian Park’s advisory board member said.
“The fire very quickly moved from the bottom of the canyon and into to Paradise before people really got time to grab anything.”
According to Carter, no horses at the park were killed but many were displaced. The park is now rebuilding and trying to house nearby horses that have been displaced.
Carter said their first wave will bring in about 100 animals, however, there are still hundreds more that need permanent housing.
“We’re anticipating that the first wave of animals will be about 100, from the Gridley fairgrounds in Gridley, California that is currently housing 700-800 animals there now. We’re going to move the animals that need more permanent housing,” Carter said.
Carter said the entire park is grateful for the delivery and to Glover and all Albertans who chipped in to help. “It could not come at a better time… This is a life-saver for us.”