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Wildlife Waystation being evacuated in LA fires

Workers on Monday continued to evacuate the Wildlife Waystation, a home for numerous exotic animals, as a gigantic wildfire advanced in the wilderness north of Los Angeles.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Workers on Monday continued to evacuate the Wildlife Waystation, a home for numerous exotic animals, as a gigantic wildfire advanced in the wilderness north of Los Angeles.

The Waystation holds about 400 animals, including lions, tiger, leopards, mountain lions, wolves, bears and even more exotic animals such as ostriches. Workers began evacuating the animals Sunday and up to 275 were being evacuated on Monday, Waystation founder Martine Collette said.

Dozens of horse trailers and other heavy vehicles arrived by the minute at the remote reserve on a two-lane road, even as aircraft bombed the advancing front of the Station Fire on mountains a few valleys to the east. Collete said the animals were being taken to the Los Angeles Zoo and other facilities.

Forest Service representatives were at the scene advising Collette that everything was likely to burn if the fire reached the Waystation.

"The fire department did not tell me how much time we had," Collete said. They did say that this "is a very, very bad fire and the sooner we can get this done and out of here the better it is."

She was interrupted by someone needing to know whether four male ostriches could be placed in the same vehicle together. The answer was no, they would all have to be moved separately.

"At the end of this, when this is done, they're going to have major problems here. If the fire comes through here, we're going to be in trouble." Collette said.

Asked what further could be done, Collette said "Pray for us."