When there’s a huge natural disaster like a wildfire or a bushfire, it’s pretty standard to think about the devastation that affects our own kind; houses and businesses lost, missing persons, and material possessions destroyed. It’s heartbreaking on every front, every perspective. In California, not only has it affected the human residents, but it’s also affected the animals too.

The California fires are now recognised as the most destructive fires in the state’s history, with over 200 people still missing, and over 20 confirmed dead. There are also over 1500 animals that have bombarded shelters across the region, as well as others that had to be left behind while the fires blazed, and countless wildlife seeking shelter and water from local residents.

Social media has been buzzing with people sharing lost and found animals, calling out for donations to local shelters and animal welfare groups, and generally just spreading information about how to best care for animals that have been affected by the fires.

So it’s pretty much wrecked me just reading through everything that people are doing for pets and animals, as well as the local wildlife so please, enjoy the fact that people can be decent human beings to animals in the face of adversity.

Turns out a bunch of people have horses in the Paradise township of Butte County, and a lot of them are being left behind in the scramble to get away from the fires. Some have their owners phone numbers markered into their coat, so they’re able to be reunited when the worst of the fire has passed.

Oh, my heart. What a smart horse.

Heaps of smaller animals have been found my authorities fighting the fires and journalists on the ground reporting. With singed fur and burnt paws, these wee angels are slowly but surely being nursed back to health.

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While out on patrol today on the #CampFire, Foster City FD E28 crew could hear a cat meowing on a property they were checking. They were able to locate an injured cat in the bushes on the property. Firefighter Downing was able to coax the cat out and as you can see, an instant friendship was formed. The cat had burns to its whiskers and bottom of its paws. E28 crew were able to get some much needed food and water for the feline….who was named “Foster” by the way. E28 crew cared for Foster until they were able contact local animal services who are now treating and caring for Foster. Scenarios like this will often boost the spirits of Firefighters who have, for days, witnessed nothing but tragedy and destruction. We are proud of the compassion and dedication our Firefighters show to not only their own community, but to other communities in need. We look forward to their safe return after the mission has been completed. #fostercityfirefighters

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One family has reported that they have taken in 15 dogs, three goats, two cats and a donkey, turning his Paradise home into a full-blown menagerie. Dan Sauvageau spoke with the local NBC about all the animals he opened his home to over the disaster.

Twitter account has also been set up in efforts to reconnect animals with their humans again and to call out for animals shelters and emergency evacuation refuges that need supplies. Prepare your heart for this one, it’s a god damned kick in the guts.

Dozens of shelters and initiatives are currently taking donations to help maintain the amount of animals being saved that need emergency care and attention, so if you’re feeling helpless about the California fires, there’s always that option.

Image: Getty Images / Matthew Simmons