Lilac Fire: At Least 46 Horses Dead, Others Missing From San Diego County Training Facility

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At least 46 horses were killed at a thoroughbred training facility during the Lilac wildfire in northern San Diego County, and others remain missing.

Terrified horses gallop from San Luis Rey Downs as the Lilac Fire swept through the horse-training facility in Bonsall on Dec. 7, 2017. (Credit: Paul Sisson / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Mike Marten, a spokesman for the California Horse Racing Board, said Saturday that the death toll at San Luis Rey Downs could rise. He said the thoroughbred facility in Bonsall accommodates 495 horses and that at least 450 were there when the fire struck on Thursday.

Marten said a small number of horses escaped to the wilderness through a fence that was knocked down and haven’t been located.

Some horses refused to leave their burning stables. Some got out only to run back in. Some made it to safety on the track, only to collapse and die.

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