Shannon Kelsey hadn’t seen anything like the Napa and Sonoma fires in his 49 years of ranching. And he wasn’t going to wait around to get a closer look, corralling 51 of his horses near Lake Berryessa to join the exodus to the Solano County Fairgrounds.
“Luckily, we were in the evacuated areas that were ahead of the fire,” Kelsey said Tuesday morning. “Right now, we’re staying here with the horses.”
Kelsey joined other horse owners — and others toting every animal from dogs to chickens, goats and pigs — to the barns earmarked for destruction next year since horse racing ended here in 2009.
Good thing the barns still stand.
“It’s a godsend,” Kelsey said.
Mike Ioakimedes, business development manager for the fairgrounds, agreed.
“It’s very fortunate we still have these available,” said Ioakimedes. “I don’t know what we would be doing with 100-plus horses if we didn’t have these.”