Day 8 of the Mosquito Fire
On September 6 at 6:35 PM, my phone dinged with the now-familiar Watch Duty alert of a new fire. The Mosquito Fire sparked on the border of Placer and El Dorado Counties. At 7:00 PM, it was noted to be 4-5 acres.
This scenario plays out several times each week for the two counties (Placer and Yuba) I have on alert. As the leads for FieldHaven Animal Sheltering Team (FHAST), Audra, Kathy, and I watch the alerts with an eye towards possible evacuations. If evacuations become widespread, we are more watchful because we may be deployed to help with animal sheltering.
The Mosquito Fire seemed like all the other fires this season: lots of fire fighter effort resulting in a solid knockdown of the fire, leaving everyone relieved. This year, the fire fighters have been putting out infernos down promptly. There was no reason to believe the Mosquito Fire wouldn’t be any different.
At about 9:30 PM, the first evacuation orders were issued.
On the 7th and 8th, evacuations continued. PCAS housed the first evacuees, but space was quickly filled up. A plea went out for neighboring shelters to transfer in shelter animals to create room for evacuees. Because the Gold Country Fair was in progress, setting up sheltering at GC Fairgrounds was not an option. Another fairground was utilized temporarily.
On the 8th, we took in our first evacuee, Laurel, an FIP Star from 2021. Her mom was evacuated. Of course, Laurel was welcomed with open arms.
At 6:00 AM on Friday, September 9, Barbara left a message. She and her sister were frantic and needed help evacuating their cats. 43 cats. While Kathy and Audra went to her property and helped Barbara and her sister gather up the cats and ferry them back to FieldHaven, we set up a temporary shelter in Preston’s boat garage.
And so, it began.
Skip forward to Wednesday, September 14. We are currently housing 40+ cats in addition to Barbara’s. A very kind neighbor loaned us an empty house to setup the evacuation shelter.
The fire is still growing. There may be some relief in site as rain may be headed our way early next week.
Bless the animals, the people, and those most incredible first responders. While they are fighting the inferno we do a small but mighty job of caring for some of the smallest fire evacuees. We do it with love, skill and the power of countless supporters at our backs.