TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) – Two large wildfires continued burning in Tulare County Friday. The KNP Complex reached roughly 40,000 acres and was still zero percent contained and the Windy Fire grew to 62,000 acres with 5% containment.
Evacuation orders were in place for both, with pets and livestock being displaced as well as people.
Tulare County Animal Services were working to house nearly 100 animals. Around 40 larger livestock are being kept at the International Agri-Center while Tulare County Animal Services is housing 60 smaller animals.
“Most of the new animals have come from the Windy Fire,” Cassie Heffington the animal services manager said.
Heffington said each new evacuation order and warning brings a surge of animals.
“My advice to people is that if they feel like they are going to be threatened by the fire to go ahead and evacuate. Trust your gut and evacuate when it’s a warning rather than when it’s mandatory, because when it’s mandatory you’re not going to have as much time,” she said.
The shelter was set up about two weeks ago, and Heffington said some of the animals have been there from the start.
More than 1,700 firefighters are battling the KNP Complex where crews are working to protect communities to the west. And while the Windy Fire has seen some containment, it also saw new evacuation orders issued before heading into the weekend.
“I’m getting calls from a lot of people who are very upset, and rightfully so this is a very tough time for everybody,” Heffington said
She said she wants evacuees to know their animals will be cared for and the shelter will be there for them until all evacuation warnings are lifted.
“All of these animals are really well-loved and their owners care about them so much and so I’m really happy to be able to provide this service to the owners and give them some peace of mind because it’s really rough on them,” Heffington said.
Tulare County Animal Services has trailers to help transport animals to safety. Anyone needing help is asked to fill out a Fire Assistance Evacuation Form on the Tulare County Animal Services website.