The wildfires raging across the Bay Area haven’t just forced people to flee their abodes in droves — but they've also left thousands of pets and livestock to go without shelter amid the chaos. Dogs, rabbits, and even llamas are now filling up temporary animal shelters all over the region.
Just this morning, new evacuation orders were given to Alameda residents as the LNU Lighting Complex fire, the second-largest wildfire in the state's history, continues to grow... virtually uncontained. The same fire, too, severely injured one wayward llama (presumably left to fend for itself) Saturday; on-site animal rescuers were later pictured comforting the animal; the llama, unfortunately, was later put down after its burns appeared too grave to treat.
And now, temporary shelters, erected to house displaced animals, are quickly filling up across the Bay Area with all types of fauna.
Heartbreaking photos show an animal rescue team comforting a llama that was injured in the LNU Lightning Complex fires in Vacaville. Sadly, the llama needed to be euthanized shortly afterward. https://t.co/EP47qhQFDn pic.twitter.com/h1YU4fu1u7— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) August 22, 2020
As reported by NBC Bay Area, these actions to swiftly shelter animals from the growing fires are "likened [to filling] Noah's Ark," with venues, like Daly City's Cow Palace Arena and Event Center, now doubling as places where small and large animals can safely wait out the blazes. Other, more permanent animal shelters and humane societies — the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter and the Peninsula Humane Society being two of them — are also temporarily housing pets.
"Horses and livestock displaced by the CZU Lightning Complex wildfire are being housed at the Cow Palace as of Friday," said Buffy Martin Tarbox of the Peninsula Humane Society, which is working in tandem with the San Mateo County Large Animal Evacuation Group on the ongoing effort, to the local news outlet.
Large animal evacuations are being accepted at @cowpalacesf, which has set up shelters for horses & livestock due to the #CZULightingComplex fire. Contact San Mateo County Large Animal Evacuation Group for assistance:— County of San Mateo (@sanmateoco) August 22, 2020
Emilie: 650-773-8780 pic.twitter.com/CKspARJC7d
Trabox estimated that at least 50 goats, one donkey and a horse, and a number of llamas have already been displaced by just the CZU Lightning Complex, all of which are currently staying at Cow Palace as of Saturday. It's also worth mentioning that many private homes have also taken up in-need animals, so honing in on exactly how many farm animals and pets have been affected by the infernos is difficult to say — but that figure is estimated to be in the thousands, if not tens of thousands.
Over the weekend, for example, a man from Clovis, a city near Fresno, helped save a thousand animals in Monterey County from the encroaching Carmel and River fires.
Our hearts are with those who’ve been impacted and the brave individuals out fighting against these devastating fires. Here are some of the many animals that have evacuated to the Solano County Fairgrounds. https://t.co/rvkQwNJnXp— Solano County Fairgrounds (@SCFair) August 21, 2020
An evacuation center for animals has also opened at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo, which has already taken in dozens of horses, llamas, pigs, and other livestock. (For a bit of context, the Solano County Animal Control first provided this service during the fires in 2017... and ended up taking in more than 1,000 animals that year.)
Per the Chronicle, Solano County Animal Shelter is currently only taking small animals only, but nearby Dixon Fairgrounds is taking both large and small animals. The Napa County Animal Shelter and Santa Rosa Fair Grounds are also housing displaced animals.
All of the shelters listed and described in this article are homing animals at no cost to their owners.
For a more comprehensive list of Bay Area animal shelters (temporary or otherwise) operating during the wildfires, as well to find other pet-related resources that pertain to these disasters, visit redrover.org/2020/08/20/fireresources for more information.
Image: Denis Tuksar