Non-profit repurposing fire hose for animals

Grants Pass, Ore. — As wildfire season winds down, crews are hard at work retrieving miles and miles of fire hose. Many of the lines are rolled up and used for the next call, but some hoses are too damaged for use. But one non-profit is putting fire hose like that, to good use.

Each year, more than a thousand animals come to Wildlife ImagesĀ  in Grants Pass to heal.

“Our main goal is to take in animals that have been injured or orphaned, try and patch them up and get them back in the wild,” Cory Alvis-Allen says.

From badgers and bobcats, to birds and bears, if something needs mending, it happens here. But making broken things good as new, isn’t limited to animals.

“There’s some hardware, some drills, some hammers, and some skill involved,” Alvis-Allen explains.

The non-profit has found a way to up-cycle fire hose that’s no longer operational.

“We actually ended up with this adventure because the Medford fire department called us and asked us if we could use some of this stuff [fire hose] for enrichment, or basically toys for the animals.”

2 years later, and miles of fire hose has been used to weave hammocks, toys, and other tools for enrichment. Animal care and education team leader, Cory Alvis-Allen says the items created by the donated material have now become a critical component of their care.

“One of the worst things that you can do [for animals in captivity], is just have them be sedentary and not use their minds,” Alvis-Allen says, “not work on getting their food and foraging, so this is exactly the counter to that.”

Their only wish now, that more of it will come in.

“One of the things we love to do is take essential oils that are watered down and spray the fire hose items with those, so they become basically a big play toy almost like cat with a piece of cat nip and it’s a great time but they do get destroyed so having more fire hose to build new novel things is always good,” Alvis-Allen says.

It’s unclear if the US Forest Service will be donating any of its damaged fire hose. We reached out to the agency, but have not heard back. Wildlife Images is crossing its fingers though, that if there is any to donate, it will be a recipient.

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