How to Help Protect Pets from Wildfires
Across the West Coast, families are dealing with devastating wildfires in the midst of one of the worst fire seasons in history. Aside from the obvious danger, poor air quality and wide-scale property damage, the fact that we’re in the middle of a pandemic make these wildfires that much more dangerous.
Understanding the massive needs of families and towns impacted by the wildfires, several animal welfare organizations have stepped up to provide support by not only offering a space for animals to seek shelter during evacuations, but also providing pet essentials.
The Greenhill Humane Society in Eugene, Ore., was enlisted to help care of domestic pets, such as dogs, cats and small animals. The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter in Santa Cruz, Calif., is caring for more than 600 animals displaced by fires the fires, free of charge. In addition to compiling a list of emergency shelters and resources, broken down by region, Red Rover—an organization dedicated to helping animals in crisis—recommends families impacted by the wildfires apply for its financial aid grant.
Community Facebook pages have also been coordinating to find spaces for pets, communicating the need for pet supplies and helping pet owners locate missing animals.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has outlined how to help protect pets from wildfire smoke as well, specifically highlighting the damaging effects of smoke inhalation. The agency recommends keeping pets indoors as much as possible, with the windows and doors closed. Having central air conditioning or a portable air cleaner is another way to ensure the air inside is as clean as possible. It's important to take shorter walks to prevent too much exposure outside, and to be mindful of pet birds, who “are particularly susceptible” to poor air quality.
Having a pet emergency kit on hand, in case the wildfires have come to your doorstep and you need to evacuate, is a valuable resource to have. According to The New York Times, areas that have not seen wildfires in awhile have been impacted, so you can never be too careful.