Hello all! My name is Kristen, and I am the proud little sister of Missy Benzinger. Recently their world and others in their community have had their day to day lives shaken up.
Early Wednesday morning, August 19, 2020 the LNU Lightning Complex Fire entered Solano County, California. It swiftly destroyed over a thousand structures including hundreds of homes. Among those was Zinger Ranch. A 185 acre, self funded sanctuary for rescued farm animals owned by Steve and Missy Benzinger along with sons Gabe and Zack.
Former city slickers, they have been learning about regenerative agriculture and rescuing farm animals since moving to Vacaville two years ago. They had been in the process of becoming a non-profit in order to help care for more animals and to welcome volunteers onto the property. Their ultimate goal is to connect trauma survivors and their families with their rescued farm animals, especially in the first responder community. Until now, they have done all of this themselves. Financially and physically.
The fire destroyed many structures on their property but thankfully spared their home thanks to help from neighbors & fire personnel, along with grazed fire breaks they have worked hard to maintain on their 185 acres. A week later they are still putting out fires burning in old oak trees around their property. Drone footage confirms all but 2 acres have burned in the fire. They have returned home but are still without water. The water well housing and the wiring to the home was destroyed so a whole new system will need to be installed. Their tanks were run dry during the firefight and several of their water storage tanks were destroyed. Roads on the property are damaged. Their 10,000 gallons of water storage which they collect from springs and rain in the winter are destroyed.
The fire destroyed their large chicken coop which was a home to over 50 hand raised chicken and quail. They also proudly had many rescued roosters living peacefully together in a bachelor flock. Other animals including their two Donkeys, Danny the goat and his fellow goats and sheep were successfully evacuated and are being cared for at neighboring ranches. The flock of Muscovy ducks sheltered in place and are doing well. The beloved steers, Angus and Dexter, along with their herd of sheep and flock of chickens that live up on the ridge, grazing and helping with fire breaks, were thankfully spared as they were unable to evacuate them due to their location and the speed of the fire. The animals are all doing well considering though many are struggling with smoke inhalation. Thankfully Dr Varga from Gold Coast Veterinary and Dr Krstich have both donated their time and supplies to treat their animals. Most of the shelters for these animals were heavily damaged or destroyed.
There is so much that needs to be done in order for the animals to safely come back to live. Insurance is only going to be able to cover a fraction of the cost to rebuild. Let’s help them as they have so tirelessly dedicated their lives and time to others. Thank you all so much for your love and support.
- Cynthia Symons
- Karen Askeland
- Robin Beck
- Kristina Mallari
- Rachel Ro