BUTTE COUNTY (CBS13) – The Wall Fire in Butte County has grown to 5,600 acres and has forced thousands of people out of their homes. But evacuation orders aren’t just affecting residents. They apply to animals as well.
The fire is burning in a rural area where many residents have farm animals and lots of pets. A massive effort was underway to help get those animals to safety.
But hampering those efforts are families refusing to leave without their animals.
Volunteers at the North Valley Animal Disaster Group have rescued over 300 animals so far.
Along with battling the massive flames and intense heat, they sometimes face another obstacle: residents who won’t evacuate without their pets.
As the fire grows in acreage and intensity, animals also need help getting to safety. Many residents are finding it hard to evacuate without their extended family.
“The thing is, people won’t evacuate or can’t evacuate if they can’t bring their animals,” said Kate Leydon, a volunteer with Chico-based North Valley Animal Disaster Group.
As the fire spreads in Butte county – their teams go behind fire lines — working with fire crews – to get animals to safety. They’re rescuing anything from large farm animals and other livestock to small household pets.
The group is warning residents to do their part and get out.
“You gotta leave, you gotta leave, you gotta leave. It’s about the safety of our firefighters, the roads are narrow and fire moves fast, we just saw what happened overnight, you gotta go,” said Leydon.
The group says they’re trained and equipped to respond to these types of emergencies.
Smaller animals are taken to the old county hospital, and larger animals such as horses are being taken to the Camelot Equestrian Center.
“It is helping the community in these times of great stress and helping them get out and making sure the animals are safe, doing our best to make sure the animals are safe,” said Leydon.
The North Valley Animal Disaster Group is entirely volunteer- and donation-driven. They don’t get paid for all their hard work. They are always in need of donations – especially at times like these.