Caldor Fire evacuees taking shelter at Amador County Fairgrounds told they’ll have to leave by Thursday

Wildfire Watch

PLYMOUTH, Calif. (KTXL) — Several Caldor Fire evacuees at an animal shelter in Amador County are having to relocate once again after being told their animals can stay but they can’t. 

Evacuees from El Dorado County thought they could go to the Amador County Fairgrounds and there would be plenty of space for them to camp out in their RVs, horse trailers and other trailers for their animals, but they soon found out that wasn’t the case.

Joe Pimentel loves his animals. 

“I have seven horses, three goats and four chickens,” he told FOX40.

So when the time came to evacuate from his home near the Grizzly Flats area, Pimentel and his wife packed their truck and trailer and drove to the fairgrounds, thinking they could stay and look after their four-legged family members.

“Volunteers were very helpful, very open, took in our animals, no problem,” Pimentel explained. “The fairgrounds folks started going around setting out trash cans for us, they brought in port-a-potties.”

But after staying there for a week and fearing the worst for their home, Pimentel was hit with another harsh blow.

“When I came back, I basically had an eviction notice stuck in my door,” he said.

Pimentel received a notice from the Amador County Sheriff’s Office stating they need to vacate the fairgrounds by this Thursday at 10 a.m. 

“I certainly understand the frustration,” said Amador County Fairgrounds CEO Rich Hoffman.

Hoffman said they opened their gates last week after being notified of the potential influx of evacuees seeking refuge with their animals. 

While the animals have plenty of care, officials with El Dorado and Amador counties, as well as Cal OES, said not enough resources are at the fairgrounds to help their humans.

“The solution they brought back to me was the best thing for these folks would be to get them to go to an established shelter in El Dorado County,” Hoffman said.

“We were not notified that this was taking place and we found out later, and we knew this was going to be an issue and a problem,” said Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman.

In order for the fairgrounds to be an official evacuation site for animals and people, the sheriff’s office said there need to be resources like the American Red Cross to provide adequate food, clothes and other amenities. While he said he understands people’s concerns, Sheriff Redman said more resources may be on the way soon.

“If anything, changes we know we can gear this up and ramp this up as a fully operational shelter within an hour or two,” he told FOX40.

In the meantime, evacuees like Pimentel will have to cope with the anxiety of leaving their animals behind or finding refuge elsewhere.

“That’s why we were doing this, we wanted to take care of our animals. That’s what we do every day,” he said. “You’re down and out and then you get kicked in the teeth again, it’s like what the heck?”

The sheriff’s office said there are still plenty of spots available at the shelter in El Dorado County.

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