(ANIMAL WELFARE) Yesterday, at least four wind-whipped wildfires burned along the front of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, damaging a large number of homes and forcing people and animals alike to evacuate the area. One animal sanctuary was directly threatened by the blaze and had to relocate all of the animals from its farm. The Black Forest Animal Sanctuary had to move 80 dogs, 20 cats, some horses, and perhaps other animals in a very short period of time. Keep reading for more on the Black Forest Sanctuary animals and for helpful information in regard to the Colorado wildfires. — Global Animal
Examiner, Marilyn Litt
Tonight, June 12, a Colorado wildfire north of Colorado Springs confounded firefighters efforts, leaping barriers, burning homes and sending Red Cross workers scrambling to set up evacuation shelters. Of course any wildfire requiring families to evacuates means animals are evacuating too. In this case an animal rescue is packing up to go.
The Black Forest Animal Sanctuary & Romero Wildlife (BFAS) is an all animal rescue and rehab group dedicated to helping those animals that are abused, neglected, or no longer wanted by their current owners. They had to move 80 dogs, 20 cats and some horses and perhaps other animals on very short notice. Their FaceBook page conveys the haste with which they had to go. Watch the drama as it happened over a four hour period.
4 Hours Ago : [times are relative to each other, this was Tuesday evening] “THE SANCTUARY IS UNDER EVACUATION! Flames can be seen from the property. If you have trailers, trucks, SUVS, dogs crates, or anything that can transport an animal, even just one cat, please go immediately to the rescue! EVERYONE needs to be saved!”
A wildfire, or any immediate evacuation, is one of the major fears of any rescue. No rescue can keep the staff and vehicles on hand that are necessary to move every animal. You may have contingency plans on where to evacuate too, but it is hard to call in the help you need, especially when your volunteers may be evacuating. In this case, it was social media to the rescue. This call for help on FaceBook was amplified through FaceBook and Twitter, but ultimately the call for help had to reach those in the area and no doubt texts were used as voice phone service becomes undependable in a disaster.
4 Hours Ago via mobile a volunteer replies: “We r on way with a horse trailor stock double axle, 2 dog crates and one cat crate”
3 Hours Ago, the rescue still needing help: “An alternative route to Hodgen has just been posted. If they will not let you through at Hodgen, please back track to Black Forest road and go from there to Walker, then to Thompson. Thank you. The fire is moving fast and roads are also being blocked fast….”
2 Hours Ago via mobile another volunteer replies: “Cops are saying they haven’t heard from the sanctuary so heck with waiting we are headin to county line”
2 Hours Ago the rescue’s FaceBook page posts: “I have contact with the owner of the rescue. They are starting to evacuate and still need transportation. I will be told when we are finished. As of now, due to the rate the roads are closing, you might not be able to get in on time”
2 Hours Ago in response: “Oh, my God. My husband is on his way. Can he still get to you? How many animals are left?”
Then there is a tense wait to those following the evacuation online
1 Hour Ago, the Black Forest Animal Sanctuary posts: “Thank you to everyone who stepped up to help. For now, we do not need anyone else to come by, so if you are not at the farm, please turn around. Updates will still be coming.”
And finally the welcome news that all are safe!
A Few Seconds Ago: “EVERY ANIMAL IS OFFICIALLY SAFELY TO OUR EVACUATION LOCATION! A big thank you to everyone who was able to help transport, everyone who shared the posts with information, and everyone who sent us positive thoughts and prayers. It was all greatly appreciated. For those asking how to help, monetary donations to our PayPal account is the fastest way to help. An official list along with more updates are coming tomorrow. Have a good night everyone.”
Of course it will be a long night to the rescuers and volunteers who must now settle their frightened animals into their temporary safe haven.
Here is information for families evacuating animals:
Pikes Peak Humane Society is updating information on their website:
Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region stands ready to assist in caring for animals during emergencies. The following is a list of locations available to shelter animals affected by the Black Forest Fire. If you need assistance evacuating your animals, please call Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region at 719.473.1741, x1.
Norris Penrose Event Center
1045 Lower Gold Camp Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
Elbert County Fairgrounds
95 Ute Avenue
Kiowa, CO 80117
*Palmer Ridge High School
19255 Monument Hill Road
Monument, CO 80132
Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region
610 Abbot Lane
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
LIVESTOCK: A Red Cross disaster volunteer trained in large animal sheltering is liaising with the Benton-Franklin Sheriff’s Posse to care for the animals as needed. People taking their animals to the Fairgrounds will need to use the 10th street entrance, as all other gates will be closed. People wanting to evacuate their animals can contact Laura Wells at 509-607-2250.
PETS: Fort Carson has opened a shelter for military families:”Soldiers and families dislocated by the fire can find shelter at the post’s Youth Center, Building 1518, 5950 Ware Street, 526-2690. The center can house up to 100 people and is also accepting pets. People will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.”
PETS: Black Forest Fire – Falcon Animal Hospital – Phone: 495-1457, is now taking dogs and cats – Address: 860 Swing Line Rd. Via @EPCSheriff
PETS: VIA All Breed Rescue & Training: We are still open!! If you need to evac and need a place for your pet (dog, cat, rabbit, ferret, hamster, etc) we have experience and will keep them safe.
20 Mt View Ln.
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
More information is sure to come as this fire advances. Colorado Wildfires 2013 and Colorado Wildfire Info FaceBook pages are good resources for information on the fire and on animal evacuation.
Here are some more helpful resources if you are evacuating with animals: