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Episode 4: Walking Through Fire to Save 65 Horses
Sixty-five horses were saved from deadly wildfires in Northern California thanks to the help of a stranger with a unique skillset.
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Protect Your Pets Tips for keeping your furry friends safe in a disaster. Read More

Sixty-five horses live at Tamara Boole’s equestrian center. That’s a lot of large animals to move to safety in a short period of time during an emergency evacuation. But that’s what had to be done as the CZU Lightning Complex fires bore down on Felton, California, in August 2020.

Thanks to local ranchers, including another stable owner, Michelle Le Clair, the horses at Tamara’s Covered Bridge Equestrian Center were safely evacuated in the nick of time.

We also speak to vet and UC Davis Veterinary Emergency Response Team member Dr. Lais Costa about how to safely evacuate horses, chickens, house cats and even llamas.


Download the full transcript of this episode to dive deeper into the story.

About this episode’s guests

Tamara Boole
Tamara runs Covered Bridge Equestrian Center in Felton, California, near Santa Cruz. About 80 horses live on the property, with owners from around the area caring for them as part of a dedicated community.

Michelle Le Clair
Michelle is the owner of Pleasant Valley Horse Club (PVHC) in Aptos, California. She has been a primary school teacher in local schools for 15 years and has been riding for more than 35 years. She has ridden competitively in both English and Western disciplines, earning several championships in each. Michelle’s philosophy is to establish well-balanced riders with plenty of time in the saddle and a strong core foundation in a friendly, family environment. Over the years, PVHC has produced many champions thanks to that approach.

Dr. Lais Costa
Dr. Costa, a boarded large animal veterinarian, currently coordinates the UC Davis Veterinary Emergency Response Team. She responded to hurricanes Katrina and Rita as part of the Equine Branch Response Team. Dr. Costa has been the leading veterinarian for the UC Davis responses to wildfires in Northern California since 2018, including the Camp fire in 2018, the Kincade fire in 2019, the LNU Lightning Complex and North Complex fires in 2020, and the Dixie and Caldor fires in 2021. She is also responsible for teaching all the curricular and extracurricular courses in disaster preparedness and response for UC Davis veterinary students.

Have your own story to tell about a time a stranger helped you?