Crews work to save animals that survived Valley Fire

HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE, Calif. -- Many homes have been lost to the fast-moving Valley Fire in the Hidden Valley areas. The massive fire that's burning across Lake, Sonoma, and Napa counties is 62,000 acres and only 10 percent contained. There is one confirmed fatality, a 72-year-old woman from Anderson Springs.

DONATIONS: How to help victims of the Valley Fire where you live

ABC7 News spoke briefly with the private security team in Hidden Valley Lake, and so far they've counted a little more than 60 homes that have been destroyed. But that does not include homes that are just outside the gated community.

On Monday, ABC7 News spent time with the sheriff's department volunteers who were out rescuing animals that survived the fire.

Several goats, horses, and a couple donkeys survived Saturday's fire. Their owner's house didn't. Still, Jessica Armstrong is surprisingly upbeat because of a tweet that I sent out this weekend.

"Because of you guys, thank you so much, I found out that they're being taken care of and being fed and watered, cause that was my main worry," she said.

PHOTOS: Fire crews battle massive Valley Fire

When the fire came Saturday, all she had time to do was gather her house pets and run.

"The reason that I left them is because the lot is dirt," Armstrong said. "And the goats, they eat everything."

She had been taking care of three of her friend's horses. They were moved there after the Rocky Fire.

"Because we lost our barn and all of our tack and means and stuff to feed them, so we relocated them here," said Lower Lake resident Kinder Epperson. "And then yeah we had a fire here."

A team with the Lake County Sheriff's Department has been checking in on evacuated properties to help animals that survived. Volunteers across the county have agreed to take them in.

RESOURCES: Valley Fire evacuation centers, school closure information

ABC7 News helped gather the three horses that will be moving from one property. The goats and donkeys will stay, but separating the group was not easy. At one point it took about 20 minutes to just get the horses together. One can imagine how difficult it is when there is a fire.

Most of the worst hit communities remain evacuated and only animal owners with trailers are able to get in. There are a lot of truck owners who are volunteering to come in and help.

Armstrong says she does not have a truck so she cannot take her animals that remain on the property. When she is able to go in, though there's nothing left there, she says she plans on pitching a tent to stay with her animals. And eventually, she'll rebuild her home.

There are so many lost pets and animals that the following Facebook pages have been set up to help:
PET Lost and Found for Lake County Fires
Valley Fire - Lake County Lost or Found Pets

Click here for equestrian evacuation resources for Lake County

Click here for full coverage on the Valley Fire.

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