Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network Barely Missed Holiday Fire Destruction
Volunteers evacuating and transporting animals (courtesy photo)
By Lauren Bray, edhat staff
The Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (SBWCN) just barely missed being destroyed by the Holiday Fire in Goleta, but now they need help.
As a wind-driven wildfire ravaged sections of N. Fairview on Friday evening, SBWCN volunteers were busy evacuating rehabilitated and injured animals in 100-degree heat. Located at 1460 N. Fairview Ave, the rescue center is just yards away from the believed sparking point of the fire on Holiday Hill Road.
With a lot of volunteers, firefighters, and sheer luck, the SBWCN property was spared with the burn area reaching their fence line, just behind their "raccoon resort." The raccoons survived, but they now need antibiotics due to smoke inhalation.
In total, volunteers were able to save 391 animals. The majority are songbirds, 80 of which are babies, and rabbits that are now being housed at the Santa Barbara Humane Society. Many of the pelagic birds have successfully been transported to the International Bird Rescue - L.A. Wildlife Center.
As of Saturday, the Santa Barbara Humane Society is offering shelter to over 100 birds, 10 chickens, 3 goats, several rabbits, a tortoise, and several dogs and cats in addition to their own adoptable pets. Larger animals are being housed at Earl Warren Showgrounds.
‘We are delighted to serve as a community resource and provide shelter to small animals in need,” said Santa Barbara Humane Society Executive Director Kerri Burns. “And we particularly welcome the opportunity to work with our partners in animal welfare and rescue during emergencies. However, let me remind you that if your animal is missing or you need emergency assistance, call County Animal Services at 805-681-4332.”
Although the SBWCN still stands, it did not come out of this emergency unscathed. "Our center miraculously survived the fire, but recovery will be an uphill battle," said Claire Garvais of SBWCN. "We need funds to repair our enclosures and irrigation system, buy a new generator, help pay our water bill which will be very high as we clean the burnt plastic and ash from the center, and many others costs."
A Gofundme page has been created for the non-profit organization to receive donations from the community to help with repairs and continued rescues. They've currently raised over $3,000 of their $20,000 goal. Donations can be made here.
SBWCN gave special notice to a volunteer who stayed on the property Friday night "battling flames and guarding animals." According to SBWCN, this individual uses his own vehicle to rescue and transport animals, and with poor visibility during the fire, he crashed his truck. Donations are being accepted to fix or replace his vehicle at 805-680-1120.
For more information about the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, visit sbwcn.org.