Tragic Loss of Animal Companions in Colorado Wildfires Reminds Us to Be Prepared
The danger to our animal companions in our homes was recently highlighted by the fast raging wildfire tragedy in Boulder County, Colorado. High winds and warm, dry conditions spread that fire rapidly from an area close to Boulder’s foothills, jumping highways into neighborhoods previously thought to be “safe” from such events. This is a reminder to us all to make contingency plans for animals when we are responsible for their safety.
The Boulder County fire was made so ferocious by high winds that it was said to have moved the length of three football fields per minute! First responders could do nothing to stop it once it began to spread. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for towns in the path of the fire, and people often had only minutes to grab their animal companions and escape. Heartbreakingly, many people were not at home when the evacuation orders were issued and could not get back to save the animals there.
At the latest count, 1,081 homes were destroyed by the fire. The grief of those families who lost their beloved companions is immeasurable. Boulder County and partner agencies have put together many resources for the animals and families displaced by the fire and grief counseling for those whose animals were lost. Animal shelters and organizations have stepped up, and food, supplies, and temporary free boarding have poured in.
There are recovery operations to locate any animals who may have escaped the fire, wandering confused, and reuniting them with their families. Families are posting photos of their dogs and cats on community social media sites in desperate attempts to find them.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were in Boulder County to survey the damage and assess how the federal government would help. During the President’s press conference about what he saw, Jill Biden made a special point to ask for the microphone so she could talk to the grieving people who lost their animal companions. She was sincerely compassionate, and the dignitaries behind her nodded in agreement.
In this case, the people were blindsided with no options. Let us use this devastating reminder to make sure we are proactive in guarding the safety of our animal companions.
Learn more about how to prepare for a disaster.