Mill Fire evacuees bring over 90 dogs to the safety of Rescue Ranch

It happened again. And on Labor Day weekend no less! Only weeks ago, the McKinney Fire brought 159 fire dogs to Rescue Ranch in less than three days and 169 in total. Then, last Friday, the Mill Fire sent a new wave of evacuees to our Adoption Center in Yreka: 91 dogs in total, including two strays.

We had hoped we were done with emergencies this season, but it was not to be. Two years of drought have turned the entire region into a tinderbox. Most of California is just one spark away from disaster. We’re honored to be able to help families keep their dogs safe in these difficult times.

Mill Fire evacuations: Rescue Ranch takes in 71 dogs in less than six hours

On September 2, 2022, residents fled their homes with their pets after a fire in the wood mill near Weed exploded out of control, spreading rapidly through populated areas. The fire started at 12:45 p.m. We began receiving dogs sometime after 3 p.m., along with stories of loss.

A veterinarian from Edgewood brought her eight dogs. As she headed out to the fairgrounds to drop off her cats, she said that the fire came so suddenly that she was unable to evacuate her goats and horses. Although she did leave the gates open, she feared the worst.

Later, a couple came in with their German shepherd. They said their other dog, a husky, bolted as they were preparing to leave. They didn’t know if he had made it out. I asked about their home, they said it was gone.

Cliff and Patty Flannery, owners of Nature’s Kitchen in Yreka, brought in their terriers, Flicker and Coyote. It was déjà-vu for all of us: their little lovebugs were also our guests during Lava Fire in 2021.

By 8 p.m., we had taken in 71 dogs. By Sunday the number was 91.

Every fire is different for Rescue Ranch

All fires are different, and animal evacuation centers must be ready for anything. For the Lava Fire, Rescue Ranch the final number of intakes was 214 dogs. Most were evacuees, but there were also quite a few strays, including several burn dogs who required long term care.

During the recent McKinney Fire, there were no injuries and almost no strays, but several evacuees are still with us.

Now, with the Mill Fire, we aren’t yet sure what the outcome will be yet. Although evacuations have lifted in some areas, the fire still isn’t fully contained. As with the McKinney Fire, nearly all of the fire dogs we’re holding are evacuees with families, but with 100 homes burned down and others damaged, we may be looking at long stays for a number of them.

We don’t know if more displaced and/or injured animals will come our way as rescue and recovery crews go through affected areas. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that any dogs that do arrive will be healthy and uninjured.

As always, we deeply appreciate the incredible support of our extended community.

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