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As firefighters battle the second largest blaze in New Mexico’s history they are making time to dole out thousands of pounds of food to furry friends left behind by evacuees.
Tim Rickey of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said fire crews on the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire have found numerous abandoned cats and dogs since the blaze prompted widespread evacuations.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Forest Service asked the ASPCA for help – in the form of kibble.
“These folks have a really tough and dangerous job, and for them to also be factoring in the animals is a very positive thing,” Rickey, ASPCA vice president of national field response, told the Journal.
Since then, firefighters have given out 1,400 pounds of food, and were given another 1,500 pounds on Thursday afternoon. The food is packed in gallon bags alongside all the necessary firefighting gear, and taken into the most devastated and isolated areas.
Rickey said the firefighters are not only feeding the animals they come across, but also documenting the animals’ locations to report to the ASPCA for rescue.
According to Facebook posts, at least two dogs – one of them a 9-month-old rottweiler mix – have been delivered personally to shelters by those working the fires, including a Forest Service safety officer and a hotshot crew.
“So proud to be able to assist in getting pet food to firefighters who are doing their dangerous, physically and emotionally exhausting jobs while feeding the dogs and cats in the field – Firefighters are heroes in many ways!” the Animal Welfare Coalition of Northeastern New Mexico posted Friday on Facebook. The post included photos of two dogs chowing down on a gallon bag of food and a group of puppies resting feet from a charred, smoky forest.
The animal rescue group has been using Facebook to post photos and descriptions of animals rescued and lost during the fires in a bid to find the owners.
A worker told the Journal they have received only 10 animals rescued from the fires, but that hundreds were left behind in evacuated and threatened areas – a number made apparent by the amount of food firefighters used this week.