Because they were not permitted to drive into the area,...

Because they were not permitted to drive into the area, volunteers had to walk some horses to safety from the Annie's Acres horse farm in Manorville. (April 9, 2012) Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Many residents who own horses in the Manorville area spent Monday afternoon and evening scrambling to get trailers to move their animals to safety from a large, fast-moving brush fire burning just west of the community.

On North Street and Ryerson Avenue in Manorville, about a dozen trucks with horse trailers were parked, waiting to evacuate horses from two large farms: Annie's Acres on Wading River Manor Road and Sundance Stables on North Street.

Gerard Smith, a horse owner and volunteer firefighter from Manorville, said in the late afternoon that the major part of the fire appeared to have burned through the area and moved east.

At Hidden Pond Stables on North Street, 43 horses were evacuated by two local transportation companies before owner-operator Carolyn Jolly said authorities told her "the percentages of a fire actually reaching us at that point . . . diminished."

Some 40 horses were still at the stables, Jolly said late last night. "Hopefully I'll be bringing them back [Tuesday] as long as the police let us come down the road," a relieved Jolly said.

Annie's Acres, which houses more than two dozen horses, would have been in danger if the fire had spread in its direction while horses were housed there, said Doug Dittko, a Manorville resident who owns two horses elsewhere.

"You have to have the transportation -- they are huge animals, they weigh 1,500 pounds," said Dittko, who added that his horses were safe because of his location in south Manorville. "You also have to have a place to land them."

Cyndie Parisi, co-owner of Joecyn Farms, a hay delivery business in Ridge, was among those who brought several trailers to rescue the horses. But, she said, her services never were needed. "Everything seems to be under control and everybody seems to be safe," she said late Monday night.

The area is popular with horse owners and riders because of the abundance of open land and access to stables.

A campaign was started during the afternoon via social networking sites to organize people with trailers to assist residents who needed to evacuate their animals. As many as 200 trailers could be needed, residents said earlier in the day.

By 9 p.m., many horse enthusiasts were still hustling to see whether everyone received a trailer who needed one.

"They are in danger," Dittko said of the horses. At least 50 horses were in the areas that had been evacuated of people.

Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko said town animal control officers were assisting in efforts to make sure horses and their owners were safe.

The town sent one of its large animal trucks to the area, said Lesko, who added that town workers were also assisting the SPCA in moving horses.

"There's a lot of concerns about some horse farms in the area," Lesko said. "We have personnel in the area who can assist with that."

With Emily C. Dooley

and Ellen Yan

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