Groups brave the cold to hunt for pets who have gone missing after the Marshall Fire.
BOULDER COUNTY, COLORADO (KDVR) – It's been a week since the fire that ravaged Boulder County, and homeowners are still searching for their pets.
However, the bitter cold and inches of snow aren't deterring local volunteers and organizations. They're still on the ground, searching for lost animals amid the charred remains of the Marshall Fire.
Seven days have gone since the flames raged and destroyed homes that are now buried by snow. Cats, dogs, and other animals have gone missing, and pet owners are using social media to attempt to locate their lost pets.
Residents have formed a number of public Facebook sites, including Boulder County Fire Lost & Found Pets, where they are posting photographs and details of their pets in the hopes of finding them.
Soul Dog Rescue, for example, is stepping forward to support those in need. Volunteer Betsy Wagner says the group's first priority right now is locating lost cats, and they've already found one.
"A lot of folks simply prayed their pets would be able to get away," Wagner added. "Since it was safe, we've been on the ground." We're crossing our fingers since animals are quite hardy. I know all the business owners are, but the fact is that the chilly weather isn't helping."
The hunt isn't being aided by the freezing temps, but the snow is. The white powder, according to Wagner, allows volunteers to follow and observe animal tracks. They've observed deer, coyote, rabbit, and cat tracks, she says.
How do people look for pets in groups?
Wagner demonstrated to FOX31 on Thursday how they have been hunting for lost pets in the Spanish Hills neighborhood.
The group has been traveling to the fire zone to install game cameras and secure animal traps. To keep the cats comfortable, blankets are placed over the traps, and little amounts of food are placed about the cage to entice them inside. In these settings, Wagner says they check the traps constantly.
The designated center for animals missing in the Marshall Fire is the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. Those who are still seeking for their pets should register a "lost pet report," according to CEO Jan McHugh-Smith, in the hopes of being reunited.
"We've been taking in animals that have gone missing or who need a place to stay since their family has been evacuated," McHugh-Smith added. "Unfortunately, because the fire spread so quickly, individuals didn't have time to get their animals out, which is tragic for those families, and our hearts go out to them."
The group has taken in 50 animals since last week, according to the CEO, and 40 of them have been reunited with their owners as of Thursday night. Here's where you may report a missing pet.