(anyone else have any news relating to pets in the Lake Tahoe area regarding the fires?)
What about animals?
Elaine Goodman, [email protected]
June 25, 2007
Dr. David Monroe of Sierra Veterinary Hospital said the facility is boarding a large number of pets that have lost their homes due to the fire. If you are missing a pet, please write down its name, description, any tag identification information, and any other pertinent information that will help us locate your pet.
If you wish to help, donations of dog, cat, or bird food, towels, blankets, cat litter, cat litter pans, or pet carriers/crates of all sizes would be appreciated. We are also looking for people willing to volunteer time to care for these animals or people willing to house animals in need. Also, financial assistance to care for these animals would be greatly appreciated.
The veterinary hospital, at 3095 Lake Tahoe Blvd., can be reached at (530) 542-1952.
Cheryl Millham of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care said her organization would be caring for any injured wildlife that is found. However, wildlife care workers were not allowed up to the fire line Sunday night to look for injured animals.
The fire area is "prime bear area," Millham said, and bears that escaped the blaze are likely disoriented.
"The animals that have gotten out are very confused," she said.
Millham asked residents to take extra care to secure their garbage and ground floor doors and windows to their homes as a precaution against bears.
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Bill calls for animal-evacuation plans
Susan Wood, [email protected]
June 15, 2006
If a massive wildfire, flood or earthquake hits El Dorado County, emergency officials will have more to worry about than evacuating or caring for people and property.
A bill pending in the California Legislature would require the Office of Emergency Services to include animals in their offices' operational plans - which for this county has been finalized within the last year. The Board of Supervisors approved the OES all-hazard coordinating document a few weeks ago. The internal list provides contact information for emergency personnel.
The state's proposed legislation, AB450 - sponsored by Assemblyman Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, passed the Assembly 76-1. It was approved by the Senate Government Organizations Committee Wednesday and heads to the full Senate.
The bill came about in reaction to Hurricane Katrina, in which many displaced Gulf Coast animals were stranded as residents either scrambled for their own safety or felt helpless in the storm flooding. The El Niño floods of 1997 would represent a disaster of similar magnitude.
El Dorado emergency officials have agreed to work with Noah's Wish, an El Dorado Hills-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the care and rescue of displaced animals in disaster settings.
Spokeswoman Amy Maher said her group works with animal control officers to assist in setting up facilities and helping to evacuate animals.
In El Dorado County, animals could range from goats to cats, and that could make evacuations a challenge.
"It's a huge responsibility. Horses may panic when they see a huge bird come up to them," Maher said of a possible interaction involving an emu.
"We have cattle, emus and horses and remote areas where pets are a part of the family," District 5 Supervisor Norma Santiago said.
The variety is something the Chief of Animal Control Henry Brzezinksi knows about. His crew was forced to evacuate a pot-belly pig from Silver Fork when the Fred Fire raged a few years ago.
"It took four of us to get him on the lift. It took some coercing" he said. The pigs are known to be smart. This one ended up in a heavy dog box.
Kelly Ross of Camp Richardson Corral is also familiar with the crisis situation. The guide thought she'd have to evacuate the stables when a fire burned the meadow next to Kiva Beach nine years ago. Staff was prepared to tie the 20 horses head-to-tail and ride them to safe haven west of Highway 89. Now the corral has 54.
"It was scary. The plane with retardant flew so low you could see what he was wearing," she said. "It's reassuring they have a complete evacuation plan."
Despite critics contention that taxpayers should not have to shoulder the burden of evacuating animals, Yee contends: "It is important that we consider animals in our disaster planning as they play a critical role in our lives and our economy," he said in a statement.
Citizens take control
With the finishing touches on its evacuation plan, the county's emergency services personnel now recommends residents to find a few different evacuation routes to guard themselves from potential disasters such as fires and floods. That point alone leaves much of the responsibility of human and animal safety to individuals. From there, county OES would open all schools as potential shelter sites. Large breed animals could be transported to the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.
"Nothing in these documents say we will specifically open this (shelter) or that one," said Todd Crawford, sheriff's deputy with OES.
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Many helping hands
Townsfolk reach out to those whose lives lie in ashes.
By Blair Anthony Robertson - Bee Staff Writer
Last Updated 6:52 am PDT Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A16
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE -- Marge Harts, a white-haired Red Cross volunteer, stood at the front door of the recreation center Monday morning with a yellow legal pad, trying to get a handle on a list of names that grew by the minute.
That list told its own kind of story, even as the massive wildfire that erupted Sunday continued to smolder and all the sad tales of ravaged homes and broken dreams spread among friends and neighbors.
In this tight-knit town with the spectacular views known the world over, people who didn't lose their homes knew others who did, and all they wanted to do was lend a hand.
So they jotted down their names and numbers and said they'd be ready at a moment's notice. They arrived with armfuls of blankets and boxes of shoes and grocery bags stuffed with clothes. They offered room in their homes. They took in lost pets. Restaurants handed out meals and poured free coffee.
On and on it went. South Lake Tahoe was two different towns Monday -- one trying to continue business as normal and the other that dropped everything to help those in need.
"This is the time," said Harts, wearing an oversized Red Cross vest, "when everybody drops their pettiness and we find out what's really important."
"It kind of renews my spirit in people," said Jerry DeLemos, 54, who lost his house in the fire.
Though the Red Cross did not solicit donations, the agency was already struggling to organize the outpouring of goods people dropped off.
Jamie Morris, a 17-year-old volunteer who graduated from high school a week ago, spent part of her morning sorting clothes and other necessities into piles on folding tables.
"You can't do anything about what happened, but you can do something to help people," said Morris. "It's amazing to see our whole town come together."
Susan Cook was watching her daughter's soccer game 20 miles from home Sunday when cell phones started ringing in an ominous chorus. Just then, everyone saw the first plume of smoke forming in the distance.
"Everybody just took off," said Cook, 41. "We've lived here our whole lives."
When Cook learned her family's home was not in the fire's path, she immediately thought of all the friends who weren't so lucky.
"We have numerous friends who lost homes," she said, her eyes welling up.
She and her two daughters, along with a family friend, arrived at the recreation center with boxes of clothes.
"It's a helpless feeling. You start going by instinct and you take care of people any way you can," Cook said.
Several hotels in town offered free rooms to those who lost homes or were forced to evacuate. James Moore, 19, volunteered to take down names and coordinate with people who needed a place to stay. He said 15 hotels and several private residences have been opened to people in need.
"It just shows our community is one big family, and that at a time like this everybody is equal," he said.
At the Value Inn, 18 of the 63 rooms were occupied Monday by displaced residents. The inn waived the regular rates of $48 to $78 a night.
A visit to the inn Monday found Lisa Brasfield taking shelter. She had been awakened at 4 a.m. Monday and had been told her apartment was under mandatory evacuation.
"It's funny, you learn what's important to you. I just grabbed my birth certificate, a couple of photos and some clothes," she said.
"I'm surprised and amazed," she said. "Everybody is just pulling together so awesomely."
Jerry Godbey, an unemployed construction worker, showed up at the Value Inn to volunteer to clean rooms.
"People are losing their homes. They're not going to want to come back to dirty rooms," he said. "It breaks my heart to see people who have worked their whole lives and have lost everything."
Sierra Veterinary Hospital was offering free boarding to pets and already had rooms full of everything from ferrets and parrots to cats, dogs and fish. Out back, 13 volunteers with the animal rescue group Noah's Wish, which specializes in disaster situations, were setting up temporary kennels to handle the overflow.
"I didn't even clock in," receptionist Sarah DeLacy said. "I just want to help the community."
"People are going out searching for animals. It's amazing how people do care," she said. "We've had a lot of clients call and say they've lost their homes and lost their animals."
As the sad stories continued Monday, the town carried on. People could be seen hugging on sidewalks and breaking down in tears in grocery stores. Workers at the local Raley's made dozens of sandwiches to give away. Churches turned themselves into intake centers.
A young couple, presumably vacationers, snapped photos of their children on a miniature train and, just outside town, foursomes of golfers teed up in the thick smoke that hovered as the winds slowed.
And at the bustling Starbucks, about a mile from where Marge Harts continued to collect the names of volunteers and Jamie Morris sorted out piles of clothes, a firefighter reached into his pocket to pay for his coffee, only to be told it was on the house.
About the writer:
* The Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson can be reached at (916) 321-1099 or email@example.com
. Bee staff writer Eric Stern contributed to this report.
Copyright © The Sacramento Bee
Disaster Response Update June 26, 2007:
On Sunday, June 24, 2007, Noah's Wish received a request to assist El Dorado County, CA with families displaced by the Angora Fire near Lake Tahoe. We currently have a 12 person team on site, and we are working in cooperation with Animal Control and the veterinary office designated as the pet evacuation site. At this time, we have sufficient supplies and equipment to meet the immediate needs of the evacuees. Noah's Wish intends to continue its efforts to save animals in disasters. Thank you for your continued support.
Tahoe wildfire surges; evacuations under way again
Jun 26, 2007 9:17 PM (28 mins ago)
By AMANDA FEHD, AP
"Hartzell's sister-in-law, Ruth Orozco, a nurse, also lost her home but was able to escape with her two dogs and one cat."
I feel so bad for everyone. I'm surprised though reading through all these articles how few casualties there have been. It's amazing. It's been what... a week now that these fires have been raging on?