Valerie Lynn Evans had a fierce love of animals.
Evans, 75, kept horses, goats, dogs, a mule and a steer at her Santa Rosa home. She’d sometimes lead the mule down the street, allowing folks to feed it, said her longtime neighbor, Tracy Long.
“We knew her as the horse lady,” Long told the San Francisco Chronicle.
As flames approached their homes late Sunday, Brian Strehlow, a neighbor across the street, offered to help.
“She said, ‘We got this,'” Strehlow said.
Evans died while trying to save her dogs.
Evans’ neighbors said they believed that her husband, son and a daughter-in-law were able to escape, but that they hadn’t been able to reach them since the fire.
Evans kept a large collection of books on horses. Long, whose home was damaged by fire, said she occasionally sees pages from Evans’ library blowing along the street.
More than 35 people have died in the deadliest week of wildfires in California history.