Fighting fires keeping our animals safe

Last month saw a surge in wildfires in our region, and the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary team raced out to help fight them.

The most serious incident occurred in early September, when at 11.30am on a Saturday morning, Trevor, ADIWS Head of Security and local FireWatch, alerted everyone: “Huge fire approaching from the north, being pushed by wind towards our district…. It’s about 45km away…. Ensure all firefighting equipment are in order and ready.”

Trevor headed to the frontline to join others fighting the fire and kept us updated.

As half the Sanctuary team filled our firefighters, the other half began luring our lion and tiger residents into their night houses and feeding camps (their places of safety) while soaking the grass around them. This is where we keep the grass cut short, surrounding our residents with fire breaks.

Meanwhile, the fire was blazing through part of a local nature reserve, with the wind driving it across roads; it kept moving, and fast. With the fire 20km from the Sanctuary, at 1.30pm, Trevor instructed the team: “As soon as it approaches we need to fight the fire before it reaches the perimeter fences… please just control emotions, we need to stay calm and focus.”

The ADIWS firefighters were already soaking our perimeters and reloading, and local friends of the Sanctuary were heading over to protect the animals.

It was a huge relief when just before 6.30pm, the fire was finally extinguished. We were relieved it was still well away from the Sanctuary. Wildfires are now a threat throughout the world and we need to be ready.

Thanks to our ADIWS supporters, we have access to five mobile fire fighters (water tanks with power hoses that fit on the back of trucks), with three at the sanctuary at all times and our security team carrying the others. The Sanctuary is surrounded by firebreaks, each animal habitat is surrounded by firebreaks, with the feeding camp/houses as their safe area.

This year we added a high-speed filling station for the firefighters so they can be quickly reloaded. We have fire beaters and are now adding fire-extinguishers to all animal houses and other areas.

Can you sponsor a fire extinguisher or other fire prevention equipment? We are happy to write your dedication on your equipment.

9-liter extinguishers cost just £44 / $59 each and are another line of safety for our precious animal family.

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