SOURCE: Hidden Villa Ranch

November 15, 2007 17:02 ET

Crossing the Line of Fire

San Diego's Feathered Residents Receive Relief From High Ranking Officials During Wildfires

FULLERTON, CA--(Marketwire - November 15, 2007) - During the chaos and fear of the wildfires that ravaged several cities in Southern California in late October, a little-known egg farm found itself fighting not only the fires but State officials, as well.

As record Santa Ana winds spread the raging fires throughout San Diego County, fire storms engulfed the small town of Ramona. Pine Hill Egg Ranch sits just eight miles south of the city and when mandatory emergency evacuations forced all of the farm hands to leave their homes, one million chickens were left without essential feed and water.

Although the ranch suffered relatively minor damage, storage buildings were destroyed, essential materials were lost, a propane tank explosion damaged a portion of the packing shed and the ranch itself lost all power; the evacuation mandate continually denied anyone access to the ranch. Luckily a back-up generator was able to bring power to the farm and much-needed nourishment and well water to the animals.

"Fighting the fire was difficult enough but when we had to fight local bureaucrats to get through the road blocks, that was worse," says Robert Kelly, vice president of Hidden Villa Ranch, which operates the Pine Hill Egg Ranch. "We just wanted to take care of our birds. They cannot live without food and water for more than two days or they will die."

It was the assistance from A.G. Kawamura, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and Commissioner Bob Atkins who pulled the strings and got the trucks of chicken feed, supplies and people through the barricades and to the ranch to save the lives of millions of Ramona's feathered residents.

In addition to feverishly working to save their birds, Hidden Villa Ranch contributed large donations of eggs to several fire evacuation centers in Ramona and also reached out to their food industry contacts to get ice cream, fresh baked breads, bananas and paper goods for their neighbors and the firefighters putting in overtime to protect the town.

"We are especially grateful to Assemblyman Joel Anderson, Senator Dennis Hollingsworth and Lieutenant Ward of the Animal Services Department who, among others, assisted our trucks through the roadblocks to deliver the much needed supplies to Pine Hill Egg Ranch during this difficult time," says Kelly.

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