Volunteers rescuing livestock from Eagle Creek fire
It's not just people that need rescuing — it's animals too.
Hundreds of rural residents in East Multnomah County have fled areas threatened by the Eagle Creek wildfire, which has engulfed 10,000 acres so far.
Many residents say a knock on the door was their first warning of mandatory evacuation notices that now encompass Warrendale, Dodson, Larch Mountain, Latourell, Bridal Veil and East Corbett.
Farmers and ranchers are determined to save their livestock, and an army of unpaid volunteers has mobilized to help them.
"We've probably hauled about 80 (horses). There's a lot of livestock around here," reported Kim Mosiman, executive director of Sound Equine Options, a horse rescue organization in Troutdale.
"People should not wait until level three (evacuation orders), because that's when you should be gone," Mosiman warned. "If you're tense, (the horses) will pick up on it."
Mosiman said about 40 people were staging at Corbett Grade School, 35800 Historic Columbia River Highway, many with horse trailers.
Large animals that aren't horses have been routed to Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby, she said. Some horses were being transported to Oregon City.
Across the Columbia River, the Skamania County Fairgrounds in Washington was still accepting pets and animals that needed a home while their owners stayed in shelters.
"We've got 12 dogs, six chickens, seven or eight rabbits, a guinea pig, a cockatiel and 24 cats," said volunteer Rachel Townsend. "These are all evacuees. (Their owners) have either found a place in Stevenson to stay with a friend, or they're camped out."
Llamas and alpacas were said to be on the way, Townsend noted. The local emergency operations center called Jean Foster, Townsend's mother, and asked her to start coordinating temporary animal fostering at the fairgrounds at 10 S.W. Rock Creek Drive.
She said there's already been an outpouring of donations, including fans, kitty litter, animal treats and some supplies from PetSmart.
"I hate that disasters are when we all come together, but this community has come together more than I could have ever anticipated," Townsend continued.
If you need help with an animal evacuation because of the Eagle Creek wildfire, try this number:
Emergency Hotline: 503-823-2323