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  • Writer's pictureGina Scrofano

CA Wildfires: What To Do & How To Help

'A Horse and Thomas Fire', Ojai, California /Joe Philipson

In the midst of its longest drought in history, and with winds hitting fierce speeds of over 40 mph, California is now facing the most devastating wildfire it has ever experienced. As the "Woolsey" and "Hill" Fires blaze through the northwest of Los Angeles, the "Camp Fire" in Northern California has burned a reported 6,400 structures and decimated approximately 117,000 acres of land. As of now, 44 human deaths have been reported statewide, and we can only imagine how many animals have lost their lives. As wildfires continue to spread throughout California, homes of residents and animals are being utterly destroyed. Many are now asking, what they should do if they become threatened by these horrific fires, and what can those who are safe do to help. Below are some answers to those vital questions.

1. Important Current Wildfire Info For CA Residents

  • Current evacuation, shelter, and assistance information, here

  • Current fire location list and map, here

  • Follow 'CAL Fire' on Twitter, here

2. Do Not Leave Pets Behind

If it's not safe for you, it's not safe for your pets. Our animals rely on us to protect them, please do so by taking them with you if you must evacuate.

  • HSUS Animal Wildfire Info Flyer, here

  • Pet Disaster Kits, here

  • Horse Disaster Prep, here

  • Livestock Disaster Prep, here

  • Additional Pet and General Disaster Preparedness, here

3. Free Boarding For Pets - Southern California

VCA hospitals in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties that are offering free boarding for pets found, here.

4. Helping Wild Animals

Wild animals have keen senses, and strong flight or fight responses. As with residents, countless wild animals have lost their homes and are fleeing from fires. Animals are frightened, potentially dehydrated, and fatigued. If you see wild animals in your yard or neighborhood, please let them be, and allow them to pass through as they find their way to safety. If you are not in harm's way, provide fresh water for them to drink outside. If you have domestic pets, please be sure to keep them safe inside, especially during the night.

If you come across an injured animal, or there is a situation you're not sure how to handle, you may contact a wildlife rehabilitator for guidance. Some CA wildlife rehabilitators may be found, here.

5. Do NOT Self-Deploy

First responders, firefighters, first aid, animal rescue teams, and other emergency groups have gone through extensive training to face wildfires and emergencies. If an untrained individual self-deploys to an affected area, they're not only putting themselves at risk but other people and animals as well. If they become lost or hurt, they will divert attention off existing rescue efforts, and animals they attempt to help may not go through the proper process that ensures the higher potential for reuniting them with their families.

6. Animal Rescues Underway

Local humane societies and shelters, such as the Humane Society of Ventura County, the Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation, the Butte Humane Society, and others have been working tirelessly to safely relocate and shelter animals who are in harm's way. Animal protection organizations, such as the Humane Society of the United States has been working around the clock in collaboration with state and local officials to provide assistance. The HSUS Animal Rescue Team is also on standby, ready to jump in whenever called upon.

7. How To Donate

You may start locally by contacting shelters in your area; they may be rescuing, housing and caring for displaced animals from fires. They may need supplies, volunteers, or foster homes to free up space for more animals in need.

Financial donations may be made to your local shelters, the shelters listed above, or the two shelters in need below:

  • North Valley Animal Disaster Group in Northern CA has partnered with Butte County authorities to assist with disaster relief for animals affected by the Camp Fire in Northern California. They are, "Providing emergency animal sheltering, and where and when allowed will evacuate and/or care for animals in evacuation areas." Donations can be made by clicking the red 'donate' button on their website.

  • The CA Wildlife Center in Southern CA, who provides emergency medical assistance for wild animals, is in need of monetary donations. They evacuated on November 9th due to the threat of the Woolsey Fire. Their animals are currently safe at an off-site location, and as of Sunday, their facility is undamaged. However, they are anticipating funds needed for cleanup efforts due to smoke and ash damage, as well as replacements for foods and medications that require refrigeration due to power outages. They will also need water, as local resources are not currently potable. Donations can be made by clicking 'help now' under the Donate section on their website.

Straight Twist, Animal Welfare, Logo


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