- Associated Press - Saturday, August 9, 2014

ELLENSBURG, Wash. (AP) - Farm animals and pets displaced by central Washington wildfires have found a shelter of their own at the Kittitas County fairgrounds.

The volunteer-operated shelter opened a week ago after the Snag Canyon Fire started north of Ellensburg, The Daily Record reports (https://is.gd/PtnKpi).

The shelter has protected as many as 54 animals, including ponies, alpacas, chickens ducks and a few pet dogs.

Volunteer Dena Haney of Ellensburg says the animals are doing well and the shelter is relatively quiet. They have round-the-clock monitoring, food, water and shade during the day.

“This not only is about helping the animals but also their owners. They have one less thing to worry about knowing their animals and their pets and their livestock are safe,” she said.

The hay for livestock has been donated and veterinarians are on call to help.

Volunteers responding to the wildfire include a group of local residents who helped animals and their owners during blazes in previous years.

One of the first volunteers on hand Aug. 2 was Sage Atreides, a veteran of animal shelter work.

“We were at home (Nanum and Lyons roads area) and saw the fire start,” Atreides said. “When it was getting bigger, when it was really going, that’s when we headed for the fairgrounds.”

Emergency response veterinarian Mark Kinsel said he’s concerned about a second wildfire in Kittitas County reported Thursday burning south of the South Cle Elum Ridge.

Kinsel said the fairgrounds shelter is ready if the Upper County fire worsens and heads for rural homes and ranches where livestock are kept. There’s an extended list of shelter volunteers who can quickly be called in.

“We always hope for the best, but always, always plan for the worst,” Kinsel said.

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Information from: Daily Record, https://www.kvnews.com


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