There are mostly cats, but also dogs, turtles and a resident tortoise among the approximately 200 animals that evacuated, along with staff, from the Maui Humane Society due to the massive wildland fire that broke out Thursday morning.
The animals, along with volunteers and staff, spent the night in shelter at Maui High School.
“We camped out all night,” said Maui Humane Society spokeswoman Nancy Willis. “It was an adventure. We had staff and volunteers. All the animals think it’s a big slumber party, and they’re getting love and attention. People are bringing us food and coffee. We’re just getting done what we can get done so we’re ready to go as soon as we get the all clear.”
Several rabbits are in foster care, she said, some kittens are being bottle-fed, while two turtles are splashing in a portable kid-sized swimming pool. The tortoise Freddie, the Society’s resident mascot, is not super happy about being in a crate, but is doing fine, she said.
On Thursday afternoon, the Maui Humane Society put out a call for help on social media when the fire appeared to be getting closer and it needed to evacuate. The Society asked members of the public to bring crates and kennels and to help transport the animals to Maui High School.
“The community stepped up like you wouldn’t believe,” said Willis. “They were just coming in droves, in cars, trucks and bringing carriers. For all of us, it was this chicken skin moment … It was amazing.”
The massive wildfire remained uncontrolled this morning, and firefighters are still working to control it, according to Maui County officials. The National Guard has deployed a Chinook helicopter to assist firefighters with water drops.
The animals, mostly cats, are being cared for by various shifts of staff and volunteers. The animals are being taken out for regular potty breaks.
“The fact that everybody is safe and well, and made it out, that’s really what matters,” said Willis. “We’re waiting. That’s all we can do at this point.”