Oregon’s enormous bootleg fire: thousands ordered to evacuate homes. Are the animals safe?

I’m concerned about the cats, dogs, horses etc. in and around the thousands of homes that have been evacuated in the path of this wildfire. And we mustn’t forget the wild animals who make the forest their home. The fire has burnt at least 67 homes and 100 outbuildings. The fire covers 564 square miles which is half the size of Rhode Island. It is so large it is creating its own whether. The Oregon Bootleg wildfire threatens 3,400 homes as more than 370,000 acres have been destroyed. It is said to be 25% contained. The threat of thunderstorms and lightning has prompted officials in Oregon to ask for help outside the Pacific Northwest in preparation for additional blazes.

Oregon Bootleg fire. What is happening to the domestic and wild animals?
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Oregon Bootleg fire. What is happening to the domestic and wild animals? Photo: US Forest Service Handout/EPA

It is described as the largest wildfire in the US. The Oregon Bootleg blaze is one of 18 major active wildfires currently burning in the US, officials say. It is centred in and around the Fremont-Winema National Forest. People who have been ordered to leave their homes have had very short notice to do so.

I’m concerned about the animals, particularly cats. What is remarkable for me is that there is very little news media reporting on animal rescue. It is obviously happening but when I read homeowners saying that they’ve packed their bags and run from their homes, I think of domestic cats. When you think of the circumstances you can see how easy it is for a domestic cat to be left behind. It’s happened before in previous wildfires.

It’s likely that in these places which are in the countryside that the domestic cats are going to be indoor-outdoor cats. They might spend a lot of time outdoors. They may travel a long distance from their home. How are their owners going to collect them; to gather them in if there are more than one and get them in the car to get out of there? Is this why they are sometimes left behind? And of course, it isn’t just cats; there are horses and dogs and many other domestic animals.

I did read that there are some facilities where people can take animals but you wonder whether, in the panic, domestic animals are treated with a lower priority than humans. And because of that lower ranking status they can get left and perish in this catastrophic and humongous wildfire.

I think that the sceptics of global warming are gradually coming around to the idea that it is actually happening when you put together the various pieces of the jigsaw which today includes the horrendous floods in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. That natural disaster, too, will invariably result in the death of many domestic animals including cats. If 160 people are known to have died in the German floods thus far there are bound to be quite a substantial number of companion animals who have also died.

I would like to see the news media report more on these ‘members of the family’ as they are often referred to. If they are members of the family they are equals and they should be reported on equally in my honest opinion. I want some information as to what is happening to them and how they’re being rescued and cared for. That’s my request to the news media today. I have spent quite a long time looking for information on the Internet without success.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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