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High School Students Care For Hundreds Of Animals Displaced By Wildfires

NAPA (KPIX 5) -- Schools in Napa may be closed due to wildfires, but students at one high school are on campus and helping out with hundreds of displaced pets.

The farm at Napa's Vintage High School is normally a place for learning, but with the wildfires, it has become a safe haven for evacuated animals.

Vintage High School agriculture advisor Emmalee Casillas said, "Hearing the sirens I knew it was going to be a bigger deal than what everybody initially thought…"

Casillas immediately began working to turn the 10-acre farm into a refuge for farm animals in harm's way. And it's a good thing he did, because the animals began arriving almost immediately.

Students are now running the operation, which consists of caring for more than 200 animals, including horses, goats, sheep, chickens, and dogs.

Sarahi Salinas, a junior agriculture student, got the first call from Casillas, minutes after the fire broke out.

Salinas said Casillas has placed a lot of trust in her and her fellow classmates.

These kids are doing it all, from veterinary services to animal wrangling. And no one complains, even when there's dirty work to do.

The shelter is open 24/7, with some kids sleeping there overnight.

While schools in the area are closed, here at the farm students are getting a Master's course on ranch operation.

Even though it's hard work, it seems there's no place they'd rather be.

Sophomore agriculture student Stephen Cole said, "I'd rather be here working than at home sitting, watching the news, waiting for something bad to happen."

For those who had to flee and leave animals behind, this place has been a miracle.

Napa resident Steve Carolo had to evacuate his home.

"My wife and I were in a panic," Carolo said. "What do we do, where do we do? A couple hours later we found out they were rescued here."

The farm is in desperate need of supplies, from food to vet materials. A link to their fundraising page is here.


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