Race to rescue pets after wildfire destroys Canadian village

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a wildfire destroyed Lytton

The tiny village of Lytton, in British Columbia, Canada, became sadly known in the past weeks for shattering the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in the country 49.6 °C on 29 June. The next day, on 30 June, a wildfire swept through the village, burning it to the ground.

While authorities suspect the fire may have been human-caused, the possibility sparks by passing trains ignited the fire has not been discounted. At least two people have died in the disaster.

With little time to flee, many residents were unable to take their pets with them. The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) has now received permission to enter what is left of Lytton to find any surviving pets, and hopefully reunite them with their owners.

Lorie Chortyk, general manager of communications for the BC SPCA, said, “We have been documenting all requests from animal owners since the fires broke out and these requests are still coming in through our Call Centre and ESS.

“We have officers and transport vehicles standing by to attend the properties as soon as we have access tomorrow. It is our goal to get every animal out but we are working with a one-day window, which is challenging.”

Animals rescued will be taken to an emergency evacuation centre set up in Kamloops; any animal unable to be reunited with their owners will be put in emergency boarding.

“We have been taking in animals for the past week at our BC SPCA shelter in Kamloops,” said Chortyk. “We transferred the homeless animals in our Kamloops location to nearby SPCA shelters in Vernon and Shuswap to make room for animals displaced by the fires.

“The Animal Evacuation Centre is the next step to accommodate the increasing number of animals needing help.”

You can donate to the BC SPCA’s wildfire alert appeal on their website.

Images by BC SPCA

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