UC Santa Barbara’s evacuation center is providing resources for the evacuees and families affected by the Thomas Fire — including their furry and four-legged friends.
Approximately 50 people have arrived at the shelter since it opened on Tuesday evening. Evacuees are allowed to bring smaller pets such as chickens and dogs, according to Dominique Smith, a Red Cross supervisor.
There is currently one chicken at the center.
Evacuees with larger animals should call animal control, which will assist with the evacuation and provide further instructions.
While Isla Vista and UCSB are still about 30 miles away from the fire, the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District has classified Santa Barbara’s air quality as “hazardous” and Goleta’s as “very unhealthy.”
Santa Barbara’s air quality has since improved to “very unhealthy” and Goleta’s to “unhealthy.”
Breathing in ash from burning material can cause permanent damage to lungs. Here are some tips for protecting your pets during the fire:
Keep your pets indoors:
Just like people, the best way to keep your pet from breathing in smoke and dust in the air is by keeping them indoors. Birds are particularly vulnerable and should remain indoors as much as possible when air quality warnings are severe. If your pets need exercise, try to stick with indoor activities, and monitor wind speeds and amount of particles in the air before going outdoors. The Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management expects wind gusts between 30 to 40 miles per hour through Friday morning.
Recognize symptoms of respiratory distress:
The most common symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, watery eyes or eye irritation, a dry and aggravated throat, mucus discharge from the nose, increased heart rate or asthma-like symptoms.
Have a pet evacuation plan ready:
Make sure to have essentials for your pets ready if you or your family is evacuated, including medication and food. It is best to be prepared to deal with the injuries that could be caused by fire and have burn ointment and antiseptic wipes available to treat burns.
Remove ash from your pet’s coat after going outside:
Wipe down your pet’s hair, feathers and fur and the corners of their eyes with a damp towel or cloth to remove ash that may have landed on them while outside.
Consider putting a face mask on your pet when they go outside:
While face masks are generally not made for pets, sometimes they can fit over their snout and mouth and filter the air they are breathing in. Whether your pet tolerates the face mask is less controllable.