While summertime is full of fun activities for both pets and their humans — vacations, barbecues, romps by the lake or the seashore — it can also be a stressful and dangerous season for both human and canine alike.

Right now in the Western U.S., wildfires have forced thousands of families and pets from their homes. In Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and other Western states, local humane societies are struggling to keep up with the staggering number of pets displaced by wildfires.

One of the hardest-hit areas is in and around Colorado Springs, where the Waldo Canyon Fire continues to devastate both lives and property. Since the fire started on June 23rd, nearly 350 homes have been destroyed, and thousands of residents have been evacuated. Although some people have been able to take their pets with them, others have been forced to seek assistance from local groups willing to provide temporary care and housing for their beloved dogs, cats, horses and other pets and livestock.

The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR) has set up a website for evacuees that list area shelters and facilities that will board pets during the evacuation process, along with volunteer opportunities for anyone living in the region who wants to provide some hands on assistance. However, if you don’t live nearby and still want to help out, donations in the form of money, supplies, or even gift cards to grocery, pet and home improvement stores are desperately needed to help these local organizations keep up with the influx of frightened, injured, and homeless animals. For more information visit HSPPR or one of the other organizations’ websites below:

• Dumb Friends League
• Larimer Humane Society
• Humane Society of Boulder Valley
• PetAid Disaster Relief Fund

Unfortunately, the drought conditions that continue to plague large portions of the country means that the risk of these types of devastating wildfires will likely continue for the remainder of the summer season and well into fall. If you live in an area prone to fire, it’s important to have an emergency response plan that takes into account the safety of both the two and four-legged members of your family.

For information on creating your own evacuation kit, and other helpful tips for keeping pets safe in the event of a wildfire, check out the article “Wildfires and Pet Safety” on the DogTime Dog Blog.