Fallout from fall fires in California continues

Published on
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old

For nearly a month this past fall, California wildfires ravaged much of the Napa Valley area. The Tubbs Fire, which ignited last October in Sonoma County, killed 22 people and torched 5,643 structures, making it the most destructive wildfire on record in California. The University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine helped rescue and save animals injured or displaced by the fires. Whether it was performing search-and-rescue missions in the fire zones, aiding at evacuation centers, or caring for hospitalized animals, the veterinary school played a major role in helping the animals of Northern California. More information is available at jav.ma/ucdavisfireresponse.

Dr. Georgeanne Croskey, Mendocino County supervisor and veterinarian at Mendocino County Equine and Livestock, said the biggest problem was there was no time for most people to prepare. "They barely got out themselves, and if they did, being able to load horses or sheep or goats was a luxury," she said.

She told JAVMA News in early January that there are still many displaced animals, especially cats. Large animals have nowhere to return, whether that is because the owner’s property is being restored, or the owners aren’t allowed back yet, or the fencing burned down and hasn’t been rebuilt. As a result, friends and others are housing displaced animals in a patchwork of private properties. Dr. Croskey added that another concern is that many hayfields and barns burned, and cattle lost their winter pastures. "I don’t know how that will affect us long term, but there was a large loss of hay feed," she said.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation provides two grant programs to help veterinarians and the animals they care for during times of disaster. Up to $5,000 may be issued per grantee for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by veterinarians providing emergency veterinary medical care to animal victims of disasters. Plus, up to $2,000 may be issued per grantee for out-of-pocket expenses incurred following the disaster. For more information, visit www.avmf.org/programs/disaster-relief.

Related JAVMA content:

Swift Southern California wildfires prove deadly (Feb. 15, 2018)