As a devastating wildfire rages through Fort McMurray in the Canadian province of Alberta, many evacuated residents have to worry about the safety of their homes — and their pets.
Although some evacuees managed to take their animals with them, others had to leave their pets behind, CBC News reports. Some animals were lost during the chaos and others ran from their homes. Regardless, there is nothing that anyone can do for these pets until the blaze is under control and it is safe to return to the area.
Due to a mandatory evacuation order, not even rescue organizations can step in to help. The Fort McMurray SPCA was evacuated on Wednesday. Other humane societies in nearby cities have offered food and supplies to those residents who were able to make it out with their pets.
“At this point, there is no one who is going into the homes because it hasn’t been declared safe yet,” R.J. Bailot of the Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force told the CBC. “People are becoming desperate and it’s sad because we don’t have any answers for them.”
A Facebook page has been established (Fort McMurray Fire Emergency Animal Assistance) which allows residents to complete a form providing information about any lost animal — or about any animals that have been recovered or taken in by other emergency organizations. There is also a rescue map where pet owners can note the last known locations of their animals. Almost 200 animals — dogs, cats, horses, birds, lizards, rabbits, ferrets and two hedgehogs — have been reported so far.
A total of 49 wildfires were burning as of Thursday night, with seven considered out of control, NBC News reports. So far, the fires have forced 88,000 people to flee and destroyed more than 1,600 structures, according to the news outlet.