Teenagers at a small farm in Napa Valley are getting a crash course in animal rescue rather than animal husbandry, which they signed up. That’s because the students are hard at work saving livestock and pets from the wildfires sweeping through the California county.
Vintage Farm is a small 10-acre learning farm where teens can learn about animal husbandry. But as the wildfires spread in the area, some of the students and their instructor began to take in animals affected by the fires.
According Napa Valley Register, the farm is sheltering dogs, cats, goats, parrots, llamas and more animals from neighboring homes and farms.
Dozens of horses have also been rescued by their agricultural teacher Emmalee Casillas, who has picked t them up from from outlying farms needing to be evacuated. The fires have left many farmers trying to evacuate their animals safely. In some cases, people only had minutes to evacuate and were told to let their animals loose to give them a chance of surviving.
Castillas has taken in 150 animals so far and has turned Vintage Farm into an emergency animal shelter. She and her volunteers are busily caring for the animals to make sure they have enough feed, water and care and are also providing support to other farms desperate for help.
Those helping are sleeping in their vehicles as they work around the clock.
Just one hour after the first fire broke out, Castillas and her students worked 24 hours straight without a break, she told the Napa Valley Register.
“I got seven hours of sleep, total, in the first 70 hours,” Casillas told the paper. “I’ve actually been having to make the kids go home; they’re probably pulling eight to 10 hours each on average.”
She and the Vintage students are continuing to save other animals affected by the fires. Castillas has also set up a GoFundMe page to raise donations to help animals affected by the fires.