Melissa Duffy was driving away from her home in Carlsbad, Calif., when she glanced in the rearview mirror and saw that the horizon was black with smoke. It was the Poinsettia fire, one of 11 fires raging in San Diego County just two weeks ago. She went back, loaded up her three dogs and went to a friend’s house.
Wildfires have also broken out recently in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Fire season in the western United States is beginning weeks earlier than usual this year, and the National Interagency Fire Center predicts above-normal fire hazards through August in much of the West. If you live in a dry or droughtstricken area, be prepared to evacuate quickly with your pets.
Ms. Duffy grabbed her dogs’ medications and food. One of her dogs is on a strict medical diet, and two require regular medication. She keeps a first-aid kit and leashes in the car.
Many people who live in areas prone to earthquakes, floods or fires keep a “go bag” at hand. It should contain important documents, including copies of your pets’ vaccination records; a supply of food and water for at least two or three days (a week or more is better); medications for your pets or yourself; a change of clothes; and a favorite toy for your pet to help him feel at home wherever you land. Cat owners may want to have a disposable litter box and litter easily available if they need to grab and go.