When the Colby Fire near Glendora exploded, I watched the sienna-tinted smoke plume recolor a bright blue sky. I was about 250 miles north of the January wildfire returning home on U.S. Highway 395. Reporters quoted Cal Fire officials that extreme red-flag conditions were in effect throughout much of California — in January — usually one of California’s wettest months.
Little has improved since the Colby Fire.
As I drive along Highway 1, the Monterey pine forest tempts this red-flag warning with swaths of browning or simply dead-from-drought pines. The eucalyptus and oaks don’t look much better.
The Colby Fire showcased how hot embers can propel themselves like angry baby dragons over a mile from their birth in a burning tree, and then land on a roof or another nearby tree and spread the wildfire like lava. I’m less than one mile from a drought-ridden Monterey pine forest.
The chance of evacuation orders in case of fire is high.
What caught my attention with subsequent southwestern state fires were the unsuspecting evacuees frantically trying to save their pets during evacuation.
I do have my important papers in a fire-proof box; I’ve packed my priceless photos in a trunk and near a doorway. But am I completely ready to evacuate my beloved cat — who has health issues to boot?
It’s not just fire
After doing some homework I learned that it’s not just fire, but any other emergency (such as an earthquake), that puts my cat at risk from my lack of preparation. If you haven’t done this already for your pet, may I suggest that you be prepared because until California is smothered in rain again, fire is a real risk, as are other natural and unplanned emergencies.
- Keep at least three days of food, water and feeding bowls packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Humane Society says
What if an emergency occurs and your pet is home alone?
The Humane Society recommends:
- Find a trusted neighbor, friend or family member and give him or her a key to your house or barn. Make sure this backup caretaker is comfortable and familiar with your pet (and vice versa).
I’m posting a sign at my door that has a photo of my cat and notes that he is inside.
Ready.gov also notes, “Pet owners should be aware that many evacuation shelters do not accept pets, and they must plan their destination in advance. Hotels and motels may be willing to lift ‘no pet’ restrictions in an emergency. Friends and family members living outside the area may be able to provide shelter, too. Please check with your local animal shelter or emergency management office to determine if a pet-friendly emergency shelter will be set up in your location.”