Evacuated animals return home as evacuation notices lift

YREKA, Calif.– As evacuation notices continue to be lifted, many residents across Siskiyou County are now finally able to retrieve their animals that were also evacuated.

The Siskiyou County Animal Control says they will be staying and helping take care of any animals they receive until the fire is completely extinguished.  For residents, knowing their animals have been cared for in the midst of chaos, it was emotional.

“Great relief. There’s a lot of tears,” said Tom Taylor, a member of Siskiyou County Animal Control. “To know that the animals are being very well taken care of, they don’t have to worry about this. They can deal with everything else they got going on.”

It’s a vital support line for all of the evacuees with animals. As intake controller for the county animal control, Taylor says they’ve taken in any animal they can.

“I’m probably sitting on 60 right now. It’s dropped down to about 52,” he said. “We’ve got mini goats, pot bellied pigs, mama goats with babies.”

Evacuee Egie Burns says the support’s been huge, at a time that’s felt more like months than days. While the Klamathon Fire has devastated over 80 structures including dozens of homes, Burns’ home still stands and she’s in high spirits to be going home.

“Oh our place was great,” she said. “They got, the fire got right up to the edge of the road and they stopped it. I think they felt sorry for all of our piggies.”

Burns says she has several animals on her farm including a herd of pigs.

“We couldn’t move them, there was too many and they had a real big pasture area,” said Burns. “So I’m hoping that’s what saved it. They saw, ‘Oh there’s animals in there!'”

The animals she could evacuate were her six horses, two of which were held at the Siskiyou County Fairgrounds.

With three already picked up, she’s taking them home and soon plenty more will be doing the same.

“743 phone calls in the last four days,” said Taylor. “So I try to keep track of everything. I hope I do a good job, I hope everyone appreciates what I do.”

And many do, they just have to catch their breath first.

“I’m excited and tired,” said Burns. “Very tired.”

For those planning on picking up their animals soon, Siskiyou County Animal Control asks a few things – make sure your evacuation notice has been lifted and you’ve checked your property to ensure there’s something for the animals to return to.

NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.

Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.

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