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How to Help Wildlife Affected by Fires

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The recent wildfires have left many of us wondering how Oregon’s wildlife has been affected -- and how the air quality is impacting our own pets too. Sally Compton, Executive Director of Think Wild, joined us to share her insights and helpful information.

Here are tangible ways that you can help native wildlife and your local wildlife hospitals:

Do not leave food out or feed wildlife. If you have a bird feeder, clean it often. You can leave water out away from your house as long as you change it often.

Keep dogs and cats indoors as much as possible during times of hazardous air quality. This will protect them and also prevent cat and dog-caught related injuries to small animals and babies that may be moving about or seeking refuge.

Make sure water features on your property, such as irrigation ponds, provide an exit strategy for wildlife to climb out. Rocks, rope and logs are helpful additions to prevent wildlife from drowning.

Do not approach wildlife. Call your local wildlife hospital if you find injured or orphaned wildlife or if you see wildlife behaving strangely and are uncertain of how to proceed.

If you find an animal that has been burnt and are waiting to get in contact with a wildlife hospital or vet, do not feed it. Wrap it loosely in 100% cotton and place it in a well-ventilated box in a dark and quiet place.

Your local wildlife hospital could always use more donations and supplies. Most wildlife hospitals (including Think Wild) receive little to no government funding and rely on individual in-kind and cash donations. Hosting a fundraiser for your local wildlife hospital at your business, through social media, in your network is a great way to show support.

Support organizations doing important habitat and water conservation restoration work. Examples in Central Oregon include Oregon Wildlife Foundation, Deschutes River Conservancy, watershed councils, Coalition for the Deschutes, Oregon Natural Desert Association, and many more.

Be conscious of your water usage. Try to minimize water use, especially during droughts, the hot, dry summer months and wildfire season.

Pay attention to burning restrictions, especially when traveling to another location. Stay educated on potential fire hazards - small, contained fires can become disastrous very quickly.

This list is non-exhaustive, but we hope you find it helpful. If you ever have any questions, Think Wild’s wildlife hotline, (541) 241-8680, is available seven days a week from 8 AM to 5 PM. For more information about Think Wild -- a wildlife hospital and conservation center in Bend, Oregon -- visit

Think Wild is raising money to build a raptor flight center. For information about how you can help, click here. They are also offering naming opportunities for all of Think Wild's enclosures. For more information about that, click here.