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Arizona Residents Urged to Take Pets with Them If Evacuating

The Humane Society of the United States reminds residents of the Flagstaff area to take their pets with them if they evacuate. An uncontained wildfire burning near Flagstaff has grown to more than 8,800 acres and may continue to burn for several more days. Evacuations may be necessary as the fire grows.

"It is crucial that residents are prepared to take pets with them if forced to evacuate in the face of this destructive fire," advised Kari Nienstedt, Arizona state director for The HSUS. "If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your pets."

Pet owners should have an emergency plan that includes the safety of their animals, and always be informed about the potential for evacuation in their area. The HSUS is reaching out to local shelters and other agencies to assess the potential impact on animals and offer assistance.

Pet owners should also pack an emergency supply kit for their pets, which should include:

• Three-or-more-day supply of food in airtight, waterproof container, and drinking water.

• Bowls for food and water.

• Current photos and physical description of your pets, including details on markings.

• Medications, vaccination records and pet first aid supplies.

• Comfort items such as a toy and blanket.

• Small garbage bags.

• For dogs include: leash, harness and a sturdy carrier large enough to use as a sleeping area.

• For cats include: litter and litter box and a sturdy carrier large enough for transport.

Pet owners should be aware that many evacuation shelters do not accept pets, and they must plan their destination in advance. Hotels and motels may be willing to lift "no pet" restriction in an emergency. Friends and family members living outside the area may be able to provide shelter too. Please check with your local animal shelter or emergency management office to determine if a pet friendly emergency shelter will be set up in your location.

More than 358 million pets reside in 63 percent of American households. A Zogby International poll found that 61 percent of pet owners will not evacuate if they cannot bring their pets with them.

For more tips on preparedness plans that include your pets, visit humanesociety.org/prepare

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.