California communities rally to save animals caught in wildfires

Dogs roam burned out neighborhoods as the Camp fire tears through Paradise, California.

(CNN)When Jeff Hill returned to his neighborhood in Paradise, California, after evacuating during the Camp fire, he came across a wayward horse -- in a backyard swimming pool. The horse appeared to have jumped in to escape the flames, and was caught in the pool cover.

He had been checking on a neighbor's house to see if it was still standing when he discovered the horse, Hill wrote in a Facebook post.
"We scrambled to unhook the pool cover and pulled her to the shallow end where we guided her up the steps." The horse got out, shook off, and "loved on us for a few minutes as a thank you, and walked off," he wrote.
    Hill called for help, and waited with the horse until resources could escort the horse out from the fire zone.
    As wildfires raged in different parts of California, residents were forced to evacuate -- some without getting the chance to go home and grab their four-legged friends.
    California Highway Patrol officers came to the aid of this potbelly pig they rescued in Butte County as the Camp Fire continues to burn.
    Searchers combing through the charred areas have rescued hundreds of animals -- including dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, ducks, and a tortoise.
    Now, community organizations and good Samaritans are rallying to shelter the displaced animals and reunite them with their owners.

    Hundreds of animals displaced

    On Friday evening, Los Angeles County Animal Care & Control was sheltering a total of 815 rescued animals displaced by the Woolsey and Hill fires in Ventura County, according to Allison Cardona, Deputy Director of South County operations. Of those, 550 were horses.
    "This is a devastating event," Cardona told CNN. "It has covered and impacted such a large area."
    Even as LA County mobilized to accommodate the animals, one of their own shelters was forced to evacuate. One hundred animals were moved from the Agoura Animal Care Center, which remains closed.
    In Northern California, a volunteer-run rescue group set up a temporary shelter at Butte County's Chico Airport to take in animals displaced by the Camp fire.
    The North Valley Animal Disaster Group works with local law enforcement to take in rescued animals, and says it has received over 5,000 calls to its hotline since the Camp fire started on November 8.
    The group says it is currently caring for over 1,400 animals -- including an alpaca, turkey, reptiles, ducks, rabbits and more.
    One of their own volunteers, Sandy Doolittle, lost her home in the wildfire, but continues to help reunite families with their pets.