Want to help? Stay away

With the Valley Fire past the five-day mark, evacuation points for

residents with large and small animals have shifted along with the need for donations and support. Here is a roundup of what agencies directly involved with the incident had to say as of Thursday, Sept. 10.

County Animal Services representative Kelly Campbell said the Lakeside  Rodeo Grounds horse evacuation point will be shutting down today. There  is available space at the Bonita shelter where the majority of large  animals as well as some small animals that have been evacuated are currently being housed.

“We appreciate the outpouring of support and offers to help but the most  important thing residents can do to help is keep access roads in the fire area open for emergency responders and personnel,” Campbell said.

Donations of cat trees, dry cat food, dry dog food, commercial  horse feed and livestock feed, newspapers and towels can be delivered to the Bonita shelter at 5821 Sweetwater Road, where they will be received at the gate.

The Iron Oak Canyon Ranch evacuation point for large animals is also in operation and is located at 12310 Campo Road in Spring Valley.

Owner Scott Ritzma said the San Diego Humane Society is entirely running that operation independently.

Co-owner Lessa Ritzma said donations and funds are one way to help from afar. She also reminded residents to “keep roads clear during an emergency so people who need to move in and out of the area can do so quickly, safely, and without impediment.”

San Diego Humane Society Communications Manager Nina Thompson confirmed the agency does not want donations brought to the ranch.

“Today, the fire has slowed significantly but there are still evacuations and road closures with animals located behind fire lines,” Thompson said.

Therefore, she said, it is more beneficial to make donations directly to the Humane Society as “we’re going behind those lines to provide food and water until their owners can safely return home”.

Anyone wanting to provide help can visit their site at: sdhumane.org/valleyfire where they have a hub of information, including donation needs specific to the Valley Fire.

“It is updated throughout the day with emergency information, pet food needs and how everyday people can help,” Thompson said.

She also said residents can find them on Twitter at: @sdhumane and on

Facebook at: @SanDiegoHumaneSociety where they post updated information throughout the day.

Meanwhile, CalFire Captain Thomas Shoots said it is hard to turn away gratitude but they are already supplied with everything they need.

“Honestly, it’s hard to turn people away but with COVID we just can’t accept donations of food or other items like water or Gatorade like usual. We love the support but truly, we’re completely supplied with everything we need. The best way people can help is to respect our road closures,” Shoots said.

Once the fire is defeated, recovery efforts will begin and bring a new set of needs.

San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob directed anyone wanting to make a financial donation toward recovery efforts to the San Diego Foundation.

According to a Sept. 7 press release from the San Diego Foundation, they activated the San Diego Regional Disaster Fund to collect and manage charitable funds for response and recovery from the Valley Wildfire currently impacting the Japatul Valley, Carveacre, Lawson Valley, Wood Valley, Lyons Valley and Deer Horn Valley southeast of Alpine in San Diego County.

“The Valley Fire is hitting our region hard, tearing through communities. I appreciate the San Diego Foundation quickly establishing a relief fund for those that have suffered losses in the fire,” Jacob said in an email.

More information on San Diego Foundation can be found at: sdfoundation.org

Donations can also be made to the American Red Cross at: www.redcross.org/donate


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