What should I do to prepare for wildfires in my area?

Make a disaster plan for you, your family and your pets (large and small) now. The Humane Society of the United States offers tips on preparing a disaster kit, finding a safe place to evacuate with your pets and sheltering in place. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets.

Equine/large animals

  • If you have a horse or large animal at a boarding facility or barn, ensure the locks to the barn doors are operational and able to be easily opened in the event of an emergency.
  • Have trailers lined up and ensure that you have enough vehicles to move the amount of horses at your barn/facility.
  • In extreme danger with limited time, let your horse or large animal into a larger enclosed area that has been tamped down and is out of the line of fire. Ensure the safety of first response personnel by not allowing the horses to run free. 
  • If you are evacuating, let your large animals out into a paddock or corral, cut off their access to return to a barn or stall (as they will naturally retreat back to where they are fed or cared for, even if the structure is on fire) and make sure the animal is easily identifiable; use a livestock tag on a halter or spray paint your phone number on their body for easy reunification purposes.
  • Remove halters: Leaving halters on can be dangerous. The synthetic fibers can melt on their faces and the metal rings can get hot and burn them as well. They can also get caught on something in their panic to run or injure themselves attempting to get loose.

Wildlife

  • Do everything you can to allow fleeing animals to pass through. Wild animals have strong fight or flight responses and are extremely resilient; many will have the ability to escape the flames. If you see animals that are injured or clearly compromised, call your local animal control or wildlife rehabilitator. Signs that a wild animal may be in need of intervention include compromised breathing or unstable walking, which could be due to burned pads, soles or hooves.

Read More About Wildlife Rehabilitation Facilities

Companion animals

  • We are prepared to assist impacted shelters to relocate adoptable animals out of harm’s way.

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I need help evacuating pets from my residence/shelter. Where do I start?

If you need assistance evacuating your residence or shelter, please contact your local emergency manager

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I am worried about my horses/large animals as the fire spreads. Where do I start?

We emphasize the importance of making a disaster preparedness plan for all animals in our care—horses and farm animals included. Individuals looking for assistance should call the county in which they are located and ask if they have an emergency shelter or location for animals. It is also advisable to call local animal control to flag the property so it is on the radar of emergency officials for assistance and make all animals have access to fresh water.

  • If you have a horse or large animal at a boarding facility or barn, ensure there is a disaster plan in place to notify owners and or provide evacuation, if necessary.
  • Ensure the locks to the barn doors are operational and easily able to be opened in the event of an emergency.
  • Have trailers lined up and ensure that you have enough vehicles to move the amount of horses at your barn/facility.
  • Using nontoxic spray paint or livestock grease markers, write your phone number on their body for easy reunification purposes. You can also braid an identification tag into their mane or tail.

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We are under emergency evacuation orders and I don’t have a trailer for my horses/large animals out, what do I do?

  • In extreme danger with limited time, let your horse or large animal into a larger enclosed area that has been tamped down and is out of the line of fire. Ensure the safety of first response personnel by not allowing the horses to run free.
  • If you are evacuating, let your large animals out into a paddock or corral, cut off their access to return to a barn or stall (as they will naturally retreat back to where they are fed or cared for, even if the structure is on fire).
  • Using nontoxic spray paint or livestock grease markers, write your phone number on their body for easy reunification purposes. You can also braid an identification tag into their mane or tail.

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