Reporting Andrea Menniti
TUOLUMNE COUNTY (CBS13) — The Rim Fire burning northeast of Groveland has forced a number of evacuations, but fire officials lifted the evacuation advisory for Tuolumne City.
But it’s not just people being affected by the fire. Flames have also forced hundreds of animals from their homes as well.
Animal agencies and community members are helping pets of all sizes.
After five nights apart, Jim and Denise Gordon reunite with their cats, Midnight and Misty.
“I was really worried about them. It was hard for me to sleep at night. I’m going to tear up, just being away from them.”
The Rim Fire forced the couple out of their home. Because relatives are allergic to cats, their four-legged friends stayed at the animal shelter.
“Can’t wait to get home. We can play with them, cuddle with them.”
The shelter and the Humane Society of Tuolumne County are providing temporary homes for almost 100 pets.
“We all love animals so anything we can possibly do we would do,” said Doryene Rapini.
In order to handle the extra overnight guests, employees are working double shifts. The Humane Society even hired an additional staff member.
There’s help for large pets, too. Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse volunteers are housing dozens of horses forced out by flames.
“It’s very scary for these folks,” said volunteer Ron Stearns. “They see the flames and smoke coming. Their horses are excited due to the smoke.”
About 30 horses are staying in pens. Community members offered ranches for the rest.
“I’ve had at least 125 calls of folks wanted to give ranch or something they want to donate I think that’s huge and shows how wonderful our community is.”
With evacuation advisories still in effect, animal control has extended hours to help people in need.
The Humane Society is applying for grant money to help pay for the extra employee and overtime costs.