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Nature Retreat in Alpine able to evacuate their animals

Posted at 8:49 PM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 00:44:47-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The Valley Fire has scorched more than 17,000 acres forcing families and animals out of their homes, but during all the chaos, the Children's Nature Retreat in Alpine was able to find safe homes for most of its 143 animals.

It's been a tough last few days says Executive Director Agnes Barrelet, who spotted the fire and a hillside, the minute it sparked.

"You can't panic. You have to worry, but you have to remain cool. If you panic, your animals are going to sense it, and it's going to be worse," said Barrelet.

In all, the nature retreat had to evacuate 118 of their animal which wasn't easy.

"We evacuated the most fragile animals first, and then the one's that may panic. I evacuated all the horses, then the mini horses mini donkeys," Barrelet says.

A majority of the animals were taken by Good Samaritan's and given places to stay at various locations in East County.

"They were calling us and we were determining what space they had, and how much space. We also needed to know the height of the fences," Barrelet said. "That gave us an indication of who would take which animals where."

It's been a tough year for the Children's Nature Retreat, as they were forced to close earlier this year due to COVID-19, and now the fires have temporarily shut them down.

"The fire of course forced us to close down again. If we are closed down, we have no revenues at all," Barrelet added.