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More volunteers rush to move 4-legged neighbors out of fire's path

A horse is evacuated by trailer from the North Fire, which caused people to abandon their vehicles and flee as flames jumped the 215 freeway in the early morning hours of July 18, 2015 near Victorville, California.
A horse is evacuated by trailer from the North Fire, which caused people to abandon their vehicles and flee as flames jumped the 215 freeway in the early morning hours of July 18, 2015 near Victorville, California.
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As evacuations for the Sand Fire expand, hundreds, even thousands of animals are being evacuated alongside landowners near the Santa Clarita Valley.

Area volunteers are rallying to get their two- and four-legged neighbors out of harm's way.

Palmdale resident Benton Walker said he wanted to help his neighbors who live in the path of the blaze, so he called Golden West trailers in Acton to see if he could buy a cheap, used horse trailer to haul with his truck. 

"I didn't have any used trailers," said Gene Wright, the general manager of that store. "But if they needed to move some horses for the rescue [I told them] they could borrow one."

Walker said the trailer Wright lent him is brand new. He's been towing it around and trailering animals to safety since 2 p.m. Sunday. He didn't stop until 2 a.m. Monday morning and was back at it again at 5 a.m.

"I couldn't be doing this-- helping-- without him," Walker said. "And when I was there, I think he lent out one or two more trailers."

Walker said he's starting to lose count of how many animals he's towed to safety since he started. 

"Almost every other house has some kind of livestock or dog rescue," Walker told KPCC, talking on his cell phone as he loaded more animals into his trailer. "In this case, this lady has 25 alpaca...you'd be surprised, you drive through here and you don't really realize it unless you're looking for it....I didn't even know what an alpaca was until I came here."

Walker has been finding people who need his help through Facebook. His services are in high demand, but he's doing it all on his own dime. Other volunteers in the area are making similar efforts to take animals out of the area before it's too late.

Walker stressed that it's important to get animals out before the fire is at livestock owners' doorstep. By that time he said, it can be impossible to get to people in need because of road closures. 

Walker has also had a partner on the roads – his seven-year-old daughter Briley.

"She's loving every minute of it," he said.