Wildfire preparedness for livestock and pets is crucial to ensure their safety and well-being in the event of a wildfire. Here are some essential tips to help you prepare:
- Create Defensible Space: Clear vegetation, debris, and flammable materials around barns, shelters, and pet enclosures to create a buffer zone. This will help reduce the risk of fire spreading to these structures.
- Include your pets and livestock in your Evacuation Plan: Have a detailed evacuation plan in place that includes safe evacuation routes for both livestock and pets. Familiarize yourself with multiple evacuation routes in case some roads are blocked. Practice loading livestock into trailers, so they become familiar with the process, making evacuations smoother and less stressful for both animals and caretakers.
- Keep Leashes and Carriers Handy: Keep leashes and carriers readily accessible for your pets to help you quickly move them during evacuation. For livestock pets have non-nylon halters and lead ropes ready (nylon can melt). Remember to pack essential pet items in your family’s emergency go bag or vehicle and keep a well-stocked emergency kit ready with food, water, first aid supplies, and any necessary medications for both livestock and pets.
- Identification and Records: Ensure all your livestock and pets have identification, including tags or microchips, with updated contact information. Keep records of vaccinations, medical conditions, medications, and any special needs.
- Buddy System: Consider forming a buddy system with neighbors or nearby farmers to help each other during emergencies, especially if you are away when a wildfire strikes.
- Maintain Vehicles and Trailers: Regularly check and maintain your vehicles and livestock trailers to ensure they are in good working condition and ready for use during an emergency. Check tires, hitch connections, and trailer conditions. To see an example of a pre-travel trailer check list, please click here.
- Stay Informed: Keep in touch with local authorities, fire departments, and community organizations to receive updates and important information during wildfires. Stay informed about weather conditions and pay attention to local authorities' warnings and advisories, so you can be prepared to act quickly. Use local emergency radio and TV channels to get updates on Temporary Holding/Shelter areas where you can temporarily confine livestock and pets. For more information on Alerts and staying informed, please visit SRCity.org/ReadySR.
- If you cannot evacuate with your pets immediately: Designate a safe area in your home or yard where they can find shelter. If you must leave your house pets, bring them indoors. Never leave pets chained outdoors and use a room with no windows and adequate ventilation, such as a utility room, garage, bathroom, or other area that can be easily cleaned. Do not tie pets up and leave only dry foods and fresh water in non-spill containers. If possible open a faucet to let water drip into a large container or partially fill a bathtub with water.
For many Santa Rosa residents, pets are family and the safety of both livestock and household pets is a big responsibility. Being prepared and proactive will increase the chances of their survival during a wildfire event. Santa Rosa Fire Department will work with allied agencies like The HALTER Project which was established in 2013, is a grass-roots project based in Sonoma County, California, dedicated to the safety and welfare of people and animals in emergencies and disasters. The HALTER Project has a two-fold mission supporting planning and preparedness for animals and people and you can learn more at by visiting www.halterproject.org.
If you need help preparing a non-commercial livestock check list, view one here.
If you need help preparing a household pets check list, view one here.
For further resources and information on preparing for a Wildfire please visit SRCity.org/WildfireReady.