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Trinity County Animal Shelter taking in evacuated pets, almost reaching capacity

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WEAVERVILLE, Calif. - People who evacuated their homes because of the Monument Fire grabbed everything they could, including their pets.

But the Trinity County Animal Shelter is running out of room. That’s because the shelter has taken in a lot of pets that evacuated the fire with their owners t

“We have very limited space here,” said Christina Merritt, the Trinity County Animal Shelter Manager and Supervisor. “We're trying to make sure we have enough room for things to get picked up following the fire.”

The animal shelter moved some of its adoptable pets to other shelters to make room for animals forced to evacuate from the Monument Fire.

“A rescue out of the Eugene area in Oregon called Lucky Paws, whom we've worked within the past, they were kind of enough to pull everything that they had space for,” said Merritt. “So that was very, very fortunate for us.”

The shelter is urging people to keep their pets close to them if they can’t or look at other private board options for their pets.

Another animal evacuation site is set up in Humboldt County at the Hoopa Rodeo Grounds in Willow Creek.

But Don Freeman has been out of his home for four days. The moment the evacuation orders came down, Freeman said the first thing he needed to do was grab his animals.

“I was in church and the pastor came and told us they ordered a mandatory evacuation,” said Freeman. “We just got up out of the church and went right home. Got our animals and moved them at that time.”

Now he’s looking for a safe place for his pets to ride out the fire danger

“I’m here at the animal shelters to see about boarding my cats,” said Freeman. “So that it makes it easier for me to stay with some people.”

Freeman told Action News Now he and his great-grandson are staying with some friends from their church in Weaverville.

Meanwhile, fire crews set up two base camps near the Monument Fire for quicker access to the front lines. One of the base camps is set up at Lowden Park in Weaverville, while the other camp is in Willow Creek in Humboldt County.

Set up around the park are tents, showers, and a place for firefighters to eat and rest.

“The way this incident has been set up, is due to COVID, we have three different locations for camp,” said Paul Hancock, a public information officer on the Monument Fire. “In an ideal situation, you would have everybody in one location. So, you can really talk to them and get a good feel, minimize travel distance and that kind of stuff.”

A rockslide on Highway 299 impacted firefighting efforts last week, that’s when crews realized they needed another base camp on the other side of the fire.

“We realized very quickly that there's a need to ensure that firefighters can be safe and not have to travel through a dangerous environment and can easily access the resources,” explained Hancock.

The incident command center for the Monument Fire is set up in Redding.

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