Each year in California we anxiously await the ‘Fire Season’, knowing that a small spark amongst the dry landscape could result in thousands of acres of destruction. And I have noticed that as a first responder for oiled wildlife in this great state, I have gained an even deeper level of compassion and appreciation for those brave firefighters rushing into the burning chaos in an effort to save all that they can.
So as I sat on the couch last Friday evening, a news story caught my eye as the Holiday Fire erupted in the Goleta hills (just North of Santa Barbara). While every wildfire deserves my attention, this one stood out mainly because a few months prior I had delivered an oiled grebe to The Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network in the Goleta hills (my first time at this facility), and while I couldn’t recall the exact address, the map shown on the TV screen felt familiar. After a quick Google search reminder of SBWCN’s location and a glance at the Cal Fire wildfire map, I confirmed that this fire was VERY close to them. As a helpless bystander some 400 miles away, I spent the night glued to the usual social media options to see if a Facebook post or a Tweet would share good news that all was well. Luckily, the overall result is a facility still standing, and hundreds of patients transported to and being cared for at a temporary site located at the Santa Barbara Humane Society (plus transport of seabirds down to International Bird Rescue in San Pedro).
Grateful to be able to share the relatively happy ending for SBWCN, but acutely aware that the harrowing weekend was quite a stressful ordeal for volunteers, staff and patients alike (and very painful for those poor neighbors who lost their homes entirely).
If you would like more info on the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network and to keep up with their ongoing efforts, please check out their website.