GILPIN COUNTY, Colo. — As ranchers and families work to evacuate their animals from the wildfires spreading across Colorado, neighboring communities are opening up their doors to help out.
Gilpin County has set up an animal evacuation shelter at the Gilpin County Recreation Center and CSU extension barn.
So far, the county has taken in 134 specialty chickens, 16 turkeys, four horses and a dog, but say they have plenty of room for more animals.
“We have animals that have come from the Lefthand Canyon fire, we’ve got the majority of them (who) have come from the East Troublesome fire over in Grand County, but then we do have some from Calwood fire,” said Nathan Whittington, the Gilpin County emergency manager.
Both the chickens and the turkeys are a rare species that are kept for breeding. The owners are staying in a trailer near their animals.
The county’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) reached out to the community over the past couple of days for volunteers to help work and had more than 50 people respond offering help. Many others offered to donate resources to help with the animals.
Some high schoolers from the area are helping care for the chickens.
The county says they have room for about 100 more horses or possibly more depending on the need.
“Just know that Gilpin County is here to help you. We’re here for the long-haul, we’re here to support the evacuation of animals, we’re here to support the animal owners so just let us know what we can do to assist you,” Whittington said.
Anyone who wants to help out or donate resources or who is in need of help is encouraged to call 303-515-4342.
Adams County, meanwhile, has also opened up the Riverdale Animal Shelter to take in pets and large animals that have been displaced by the fires.
A spokesperson says so far, they have taken in ten animals and have room for many more both at the shelter and the fairgrounds nearby.
Anyone who needs help can call their evacuation emergency phone line at 720-523-7227.