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Bernardo fire burns into horse country

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By Nancy Aziz

San Diego - The Bernardo Fire burned into San Diego's horse country prompting the evacuations of hundreds or horses.

About 800 of them wound up at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. While the fairgrounds were not designated as an official evacuation center, people still brought their horses to the fairgrounds and the fairgrounds said all were welcome.

"If you do show up, you will not be turned away," said Linda Zweig, the spokeswoman for the fairgrounds.

 The Helen Woodward Animal Center evacuated 400 of its animals as the fire raged too close for comfort.

 "It was definitely a bit scary," said Haylee Senita who works at the center.

 Dogs were evacuated to a nearby Petco store, the exotics to Seaworld and and horses, sheep and alpaca went to the fairgrounds.

 The fairgrounds also allowed owners to sleep in the jockey's quarters overnight and some owners chose to do so to be close to their animals.

Though evacuation orders were lifted  around the county by evening, horse owners won't be able to bring their horses home from the fairgrounds until 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. That's when the venue will allow trailers to leave.

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