San Diego Humane Society

Animals and Fire: Rescuers Work to Keep Pets, Wildlife Safe

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On September 1, the San Diego Humane Society merged with Fund for Animals in Ramona. The merger allowed both facilities to broaden their areas of expertise and help more animals.

Both of which were on display during wildfires that blazed across southern California in September.

During the Valley Fire in eastern San Diego county, the San Diego Humane Society Emergency Rescue team worked extremely close to the fire and in the burn zone to save pets and wildlife.

Andy Blue, the campus director for Project Wildlife in Ramona, says it’s “something they train for year-round.”

Blue was near the flames in Jamul as the rescued animals were being brought to safety.

”We were receiving alpacas, horses, chickens,  goats, just about everything, different species," he said.

The rescue team consists of paid employees and volunteers, they are literally life savers for the animals and those affected by fires.

“Folks that are evacuated have so much to worry about we don’t want them to worry about their animals," he said.

Blue says if you live near a dangerous fire area, you must have an evacuation plan for you and your animals. If you come across wildlife that’s been wounded, scared, or displaced by the fire, Blue says if it’s a large animal call a rescue facility, if it’s a smaller animal proceed with caution.

“You want to use gloves to handle the animals, have a box handy with air holes for animals, if you can put the animal in a box, put it in a cool, quiet place, the animal doesn’t need food or water, then get ahold of Project Wildlife or any animal rescuer," he said.

If you are unsure of which animal rescue facility to contact if you come across an animal in need, click here.

According to Blue, animals in East San Diego have somewhat adapted to fires and are increasingly likely to flee before flames reach them. Case in point, no apex predators or smaller wildlife were brought into the Ramona facility for burn treatment during the Valley fire. But they did receive a badly burned animal from last month’s Idyllwild fire, a baby mountain lion cub just a few weeks old.

Firefighters found the cub on the side of the road and brought her to the rescue facility in Ramona.

The mountain lion cubs chances for survival weren’t good, but after weeks of work by the vet team at Project Wildlife, the now 16 week old mountain cub is doing great and cute as can be.

“She was in pretty bad shape when she came in, but again the team here is so good at what they do, they were able to turn it around we still have her and she is doing great. I couldn’t be more proud of the team here to step up and take care of that little girl when she came in it’s really , really cool.”

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