March 31, 2017, Riverside, CA – Lifetime Equine Refuge - Saving America's Horses Winter Storm Update
After a nearly seven-year drought, the weather pendulum turned the other direction this winter season with unrelenting torrential rains unleashed from the tropics pounding WFLF’s Anza-Borrego, California facilities with a series of extreme winter storms. By Jan 27, 2017 the season Anza’s rain total had already exceeded 12.5” followed by potentially the biggest storm in 12 years which crashed into Southern California in February bringing heavy rain, high winds, and mud slides prompting evacuations, blocking roads, downing trees and knocking out power. “The biggest storm in February hit us with over 8 inches of rain in less than 48 hours,” said WFLF vice president Jay Coskie. Winds whipped across Southern California with gusts of 50 mph to 80 mph and knocked down multiple power lines leaving more than 135,000 customers with no power. The extreme storms have prompted rescues and injuries from flooding and toppled trees. Authorities say hundreds of trees and power lines have been downed, according to the AP.
It’s been one heck of an extreme storm season for WFLF’s Lifetime Equine Refuge this winter. So big that our Anza-Borrego equine rescue facility had to close for several months due to extreme damage, power outages, washed out roads and access ways, as announced by the management team. Never fear, WFLF’s educational programming has resumed but as always, patience has been the key for the safety the equine residents through these trying times.
Safety is the first concern for WFLF’s family of equines, visitors and staff. Therefore WFLF management had requested for only specific operational staff comes to Lifetime Equine Refuge and that all tours to the facilities canceled until further notice. “Persistent heavy rains, flash flooding, high winds, mud slides and debris flows wreaked havoc on our operations which resulted in permanent damage to key sections of our facilities including layup, feed and training areas,” said director Katia Louise. WFLF crews have been working around the clock fighting conditions and clearing debris and mud for months now. "We have been chasing the needed repairs days and night. There is only so much we can do," Louise added.
“Those of us in remote areas have had to make due on our own. There were even many times when members of operational staff could not get to us.” Local roads and the access roads within WFLF’s facilities were washed out completely. Whole sections of WFLF’s facility were cut off – one side from the other. “Conditions were such that we hand shoveled mud in the pouring rain oftentimes through the night, hand filling in washed out flood ways with rocks, firewood and whatever we could get our hands on so that we could maintain access for continued provision of care for our family of equines horses in the stable areas on the other side of the ranch.”
“Numerous National Weather Service warnings came one after the other with sudden on slots of high wind gusts of up to 80 mph, thunderstorms, snow, torrential rains and flooding our facility where the grounds were already saturated just below the side of steep slopes where canyons runoffs create a perfect recipe for mudslides," WFLF vice president Jay Coskie said. The National Weather Service urged residents to take immediate precautions to protect themselves and their property. “These heavy rainfalls have had a hard time absorbing into the soil and with each passing storm we’ve experienced mounting incidents of flooding, mudslides and debris flow,” added director, Katia Louise. The waves of torrential rain on the steep mountain slope which continue straight up from our facility have caused continued wash outs with surface and debris flow which have inundated the low-water crossings and river gulches created by the pockets of dangerous, swift-water stretches." Mountains and foothills in particular get dumped on as confirmed by Kathy Hoxsie, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “Mountains are all oriented perfectly to help squeeze out, very effectively, the moisture."
Multiple natural slides made travel extremely dangerous during the storms, if not impossible, over the mountain roads and hampered the efforts of road crews. Hazardous flooding and mud issues and slides have affected the entire state. Meteorologists reports have confirmed the record siege of storms have virtually wiped out the long-term drought conditions across California. "This facility will never be the same," said director Katia Louise.
need support in covering losses and costs for damages resulting from these relentless winter storms." The good news is that we are now able to safely relocate remainder our equines residents as needed, but financial support is needed to help pay for transport costs. Nearly three months have been lost and the need for urgent funds is more crucial than ever.
Wild For Life Foundation is a 501 (c)3 organization that can offer tax deductions for your financial support. We rely 100% on donor support to provide the many services to America's horses and burros. From donations of hay, equipment, to general operational funds, the contributions of our donors are essential to sustain our successful work. Our budget is small and well managed. We streamline our expenses and focus on making equine care our top priority. Our all volunteer board and management team keep us providing some of the best equine rescue, sanctuary and educational programming in the U.S.
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Wild For Life
19510 Van Buren Blvd, #F3236
Riverside, CA 92508
Federal ID No: 26-3052458