People and animals in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada are under extreme pressure from unprecedented bushfires which are ravaging the province and it’s surrounding areas. Horses are being let loose onto the roads and pets are being left behind, as panic grips those in the path of the fires. Over 88,000 evacuations have taken place so far and the fire has grown five times its initial size.
I am a bushfire survivor from the epicenter of one of Australia’s worst ever bushfires, so it is with experience that I ask you to please hold off judging people’s actions who are in the path of the fires. When you are facing death rational thinking is one of the first things to go.
People in Alberta are not used to bushfires and consequently, many people locked their pets inside their house before fleeing, thinking they would be back home in a few hours. Some people left it to the last minute to transport their horses by horse trailer, before being cut off by a wall of flame, forcing them no alternative but to remove the horse from their trailer and let them run loose on the roads, to try and survive.
Horse owners: in a bushfire cut off your horses mane and tail to stop it catching on fire from flying embers. It he tail or mane catch fire, as the horse gallops in panic, the flames are fanned and the horse becomes a torch. This is a horrific reality of horses in bushfires. You can NOT catch the horse or do anything for it once it is alight. There are not words to yet describe the horror of watching this.
Horse owners: paint your phone number on your horse’s hoof walls and along it’s side, in big numbers, to identify who he belongs to. There have been many reports of horses who survived fires but were never reunited with owners again, due to no identification on the horse. Avoid this by painting or spray painting your name and number down each side of the horse.
Horse owners: remove all headstalls, rugs, fly veils, and so on. Remove everything because in a blind panic, equipment can shift, it can get stuck on fences, branches, etc and it can also burn into your horse’s flesh as the temperature soars if your horse has to face a wall of flame.
You cannot begin to imagine the horror which a bushfire brings, unless you have survived one. As well as surviving the bushfire, I was also then drove an Emergency Animal Rescue vehicle, where I rescued mainly horses, but also dogs, cat, rabbits, and so on.
The epicenter of the fires which I survived had a recorded 100 foot wall of flame at 2,000F which melted cars! Brick houses were gutted as glass windows exploded because of the heat, and flying embers caught curtains on fire and many houses literally exploded.
No one can control fire, which is why it is so terrifying. All the people affected in Alberta will need some type of emotional support for a long time. The cost to wildlife is unfathomable. If you see injured wildlife please notify animal rescuers immediately.
After large bushfires, people are dazed and confused and stumble around in a stupor. Because they have witnessed things which no one should be made to, they sometimes are unable to react to injured wildlife – not because they don’t love them, but simply because they are the equivalent of what people used to refer to as “shell-shocked.” Today, more severe cases are known Post traumatic Stress Disorder.
Bushfires take a terrible toll on animal rescuers too. Most animal rescuers do not evacuate and are on the front lines of the worst of the horror. If you know or meet animal rescuers in Albewrta, please give them a big hug; I know they could definitely use one!
I pray the fires in Alberta pass over quickly and help can arrive to all those who need it, for animals and people. To read the list of animals rescued and those still in need of rescue, click here: #ymmfire Animal Rescue Map: https://fortmacanimalrescue.crowdmap.com/reports/
DONATIONS: Rescuer’s Heart For Animals does NOT accept donations.
WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND Vietnam Animal Aid And Rescue (VAAR), formerly known as VAWO, who save ALL animals, including dog meat dogs and cats, and run a Vet Training School to teach local vets humane practice on pets within Vietnam. Many local Vietnamese vets do NOT USE ANESTHETIC ON DOGS OR CATS DURING OPEN SURGERY!
VAAR’s Direct Paypal: firstname.lastname@example.org
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