Saturday, June 16, 2012

Wild Fire and Wolves

West of Fort Collins, Colorado the High Park wild fire burns unabated.  People are being evacuated, homes have been lost and at least one person has died as a result of the fire.  Also located west of Fort Collins is the Wolf Sanctuary, a non-profit organization for the protection of captive bred wolves and wolf-dogs who can no longer be cared for by their owners.  This past week the wolves of the Sanctuary also had to be evacuated and one of my best friends from high school has taken in several of these beautiful creatures.  I'll let her tell the story in the form of quotes from some of her recent emails.

" I saw a fire to the northwest of my house on Saturday around 10:30 a.m. I emailed Frank, founder of the WOLF Sanctuary that I volunteer at, to see if WOLF was safe. He said I was the 3rd person to contact him about it but he didn’t see anything from the Sanctuary.
I came into work. Watched the fire grow, asked how I could help WOLF. By 4:30 Saturday I was headed home and recruiting help to convert Beauty, Noble, Freedom and Spirits runs and outbuilding into secure enclosures for evacuated wolves. Friends, neighbors came and helped to secure the 4 runs.
By evening, I had 5 animals: Lance, Pride, Rajan, Renada and Webster. Muc and Atlantis went to Susan in Laramie. Sasha and Pax went to Michelle’s parents. Tullian and Sigmund went to a kennel. That left 19 at the sanctuary.
Frank stayed up at WOLF with the fire approaching and everyone left before it got too dark. Vi (Frank’s significant other, best friend and wonderful person) brought their dog Maggie, and two cats (Stella and Hailey). They are living downstairs until they can go back home to the cabin at the sanctuary.
On Sunday, we were told that maybe, just maybe 3 vehicles could go up to evacuate more and check in on Frank. From what I understand several vehicles were allowed to go up but they only got two more: Matoska and Kasota, and had to leave because it was becoming dangerous. Frank came back down with them.
While they were gone, volunteer, neighbors and friends mobilized in mass to setup more runs for potential evacuees. I bought 4 more runs and a floor AC unit to setup on the unfinished side of my outbuilding. Then donations started pouring in. We have quite a few runs donated, food, bowls, etc. We setup 4 runs on the other side of the outbuilding and 4 more runs outside.
Yesterday morning a troop went in several cars to see if they could get up to the sanctuary. After 4 hours they were turned away but Frank stayed. Finally Frank was escorted to the sanctuary. Frank had to suit up in fire gear with a folder emergency shelter attached to his hop. All 17 were okay. They were freaked out and it took some time before they came to where Frank could see them. Apparently Loci was unphased by everything and came bouncing down the hillside say “Hi Dad! What’s up?”. That’s Loci – no surprise. They had water in their troughs and buckets.
The fire was apparently like a tornado, hit and miss. Down along the 2.5 mile dirt lane back to the sanctuary, places would be okay and other places would be totally burned to the ground.
The last two houses just prior to the sanctuary property and the shack just inside the sanctuary where Steve Wolfsong, grounds keep and maintenance guy lives, are gone. There were embers smoldering around the enclosures where, sadly ironic, there are wood shaving piles from starting to clear fire barrier areas around enclosures and for clearing for putting up fire dens for the wolves. Hopefully the embers did not start new fires last night and all are still safe.
Frank is going to try to go back up today. Fingers, toes, eyes, legs, arms, everything crossed ….. Please send your good thoughts and prayers toward the sanctuary and remaining animals.
Yesterday afternoon Sasha and Pax were moved to my place in a new outside enclosure and last night Tullian and Sigmund were moved to my place in a new outside enclosure. When they brought Tullian, who is a strong presence and weights 150#s, was brought, my guys were in alarm mode. Yikes!
But all in all, all animals seem to be handling their temporary setup as well as can be expected. A few of the really shy ones are a bit stressed but WOLF has on the Board a holistic vet who is taking care fo them.
My pups are now living in the backyard. We moved over the 4 igloos to the backyard. Noble is showing the most stress because he’s confused about the pecking order with all the new animals coming in. The volunteers and friends will be working on reassuring him that he’s alpha.
So, WOLF operations are now at my house. We have 3-10 volunteers there 24/7. My outside frig is jammed with raw meat – too funny being a vegan. Neo and Morpheus are staying upstairs until eves when it’s a little quieter. Frank, Vi and their 4-legged babies are living downstairs for now.
I’ll be sending pictures that I took this morning in several emails. The smoke is really thick. I couldn’t see the Keyhole when I first got up this morning. Even if the fire did come toward the house, there are very few trees in my area and it would be mainly just grass fires and easy to control."

Later: "The remaining animals were evacuated! Yea! 14 went to TWAS and 3 more came to my place.
Kiki is now back with Rajan. Boots and Lena came to my place. Lena is very traumatized. So Boots was seen laying and wrapping himself around her to comfort her. Makes your heart melt.
The animals going to TWAS were placed inside the Big Cat Pavilion. All settled down quite nicely. However Mr. Loci is bouncing up and down and barking at the Big Cats (you know like tiger big cats) saying “hey wanna play?”.
Fire did come into the edges of two enclosures: Renada and Webster’s and Rajan and Kiki’s. WOLF lost the cabin Steve Wolfsong stays at when he’s working. And we also lost the outhouse the is just above the volunteer shack that sits in-between the enclosures for Renada and Rajan. This is how close the fire came!
It’s not the idea situation but all are free from harm of the fire."

" Please tell everyone this and spread the word:
- for monetary donations go to WOLF's webstie and there is a link to donations via Paypal, etc.
The Facebook page for photos of some of the wolves is here.  If the fire stays away from the Loveland area next week Denny and I will be visiting Shelley and her new crew of critters and helping out where we can for a few days.  I'm excited.


Anvilcloud said...

Quite an account. Just this morning I saw a picture of the fires from space.

Grant said...

Did you take that picture at the top of this post? It really doesn't look like anything I have seen of the High Park fire and I suspect it isn't the High Park fire at all.

RV Vagabonds said...

Grant, that was taken by a man named Scott who was assisting the rescue of the wolves on June 14th from within the borders of the High Park fire where the Wolf Sanctuary is located.

Grant said...

Thanks! That is a crazy scene.

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