As an animal trainer working for a company that supplies so many animals for the entertainment industry, one of the worst times of the year would be October and November when the weather brings us a local condition known to all who live here as the “Santa Ana’s“.
Sadly, our fire season has become more of a year round problem. Right now, at the end of January, when we should have had some decent rain, we are parched dry.
The Santa Ana winds are a warm offshore wind that creates perfect conditions for brush fires – especially after a hot summer, when the surrounding canyons and landscape are now dry and crispy.
Having an animal company with hundreds of dogs, cats, squirrels, birds and other small animals set in the heart of a dry canyon can be nerve wrecking at this time of year. Studio Animal Services has evacuated many times over the years, one of the worst times was October 2007, when we had to evacuate everyone. We are prepared, we have multiple horse trailers fully loaded with crates, food, water etc., so we can load up, pull out and can be self contained if need be. In 2007 we had to stay away for 3 days while the fire roared down our canyon burning everything in sight, except the 8 acre ranch we work from, the firefighters did an amazing job of saving that.
Being prepared is the key. I personally have my house set up with bins of stuff ready to load up and move out in the event of a local brush fire. I label them in order of importance, depending on how much time I have to evacuate, depends on what I grab and leave with.
I took all of these photo’s including the one above, when many people swarmed the local Wildlife Waystation to help evacuate all the animals. The fire was moving up the canyon toward the facility. I left that evening in a horse trailer with 3 emu, (or maybe they were ostrich) and 2 pigs. Luckily the fire did not make it to the Waystation and days later all the wildlife were returned.
If you live in Southern California (and other dry states) make a plan, be prepared – especially when it comes to your animals – and especially if you have larger animals like horses. No good waiting until it happens and panicking. Get set up now!