US & Canada

In pictures: The animals caught in California's wildfires

Horses are spooked as the Woolsey Fire moves through the property on Cornell Road near Paramount Ranch Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Scores of people are missing across the state, as fast-moving fires continue to burn

As deadly wildfires burn across California, communities are counting the toll in not just human losses, but in wildlife and household pets too.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that animal owners in at-risk areas have evacuation plans for animals in place, but because of how urgent some orders were, many were unable to return home for their pets and other animals.

Residents have been using social media to spread images of their lost animals around the internet.

Dedicated accounts, groups and hashtags have also been set up by online volunteers to help reunite pets with their owners.

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As tens of thousands of acres burn cross the state, images have emerged of animals being evacuated.

A dog watches from a car as flames approach during the Woolsey Fire Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Some evacuating residents were able to take their pets with them
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Goats are transported in back of a truck Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption It was not just household pets who were loaded up by fleeing owners
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A dog is banded up by college students Image copyright EPA
Image caption A dog in Butte County is treated by members of emergency vet response team for burned paws

On Friday, some residents living close to the Woolsey Fire ravaging the Malibu area took their large animals down to a local beach for protection.

Local fire officials opened up Zuma Beach as an evacuation point for large animals, leading to surreal scenes on the usual spot for tourists.

Wally Skahlij, a photographer for the Los Angeles Times, took a set of striking photographs on the beach, including one of an owl resting in the sand as the fire engulfed the skyline.

Llamas are tethered on beach as whole skyline tints red Image copyright Getty Images
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Two horses are tethered up on a beach that appears abandoned Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Officials recommend horses should be marked with contact details as a last resort
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An owl nestled in the sand on the beach Image copyright Getty Images

Actress Alyssa Milano appealed to her Twitter followers on Friday to try and get help for her five horses to safety.

She was among the hundreds of thousands of California residents who have had to evacuate their homes across the state.

The wildfire season usually starts in summer and runs into early autumn there, but recent low humidity, dry conditions and warm fast-moving winds have created ideal conditions for blazes to spread.

In Paradise, a town north of Sacramento, thousands of buildings have been destroyed and at least 29 people are known to have died, with more than 200 others still unaccounted for.

Despite the widespread destruction, some pets have been recovered there alive, giving hope to survivors who are still missing theirs.

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The effort is complicated because often animals caught up in fires flee or hide, especially when injured.

Pets lost in fires earlier this year are still being reunited with owners, as volunteers use elaborate baiting techniques to try and recapture the animals.

Around Butte County where the November fires have been the most deadly, emergency workers and volunteers, including the North Valley Animal Disaster Group, have been going into the affected areas to give emergency supplies to larger farm animals that had to be been left behind.

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A deer walks through scorched remains in Paradise Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A deer explores a residential area destroyed by the fire in Paradise

Local animal services across California have urged people who are able to adopt or foster pets from shelters to do so in order to make room for those being brought in on an emergency basis.

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Some that have been rescued have been found with extensive burns, complicating reunification efforts.

Zoo workers push boxes with animals in Image copyright AFP
Image caption Los Angeles zoo temporarily evacuated some animals and closed on Friday

Several online fundraising appeals have been set up to pay veterinary bills for animals that have been found with burn injuries.

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In some places, veterinarians have been working in groups to try and treat injured and lost animals for free.

Veterinarian Dawn Alves tends to a dog who received burns on its eyes and chin during the Camp Fire in Paradise Image copyright Reuters
Image caption This dog, named Fatty, received burns to his eyes and chin during the Camp Fire in Paradise
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Dog is petted by a local man Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Reuben, a comfort dog, is petted at a church being used as an emergency shelter in Chico, California
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People who are missing their animals have been advised to check designated local rescue points - including airports and even casinos - where animals are being taken on an emergency basis.

A dog is loaded up into a cage on a police van in Butte County Image copyright EPA
Image caption A dog recovered from an abandoned home is transferred to a rescue point
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A horse eats grass near a gas station Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A police officer tends to a horse that was found wandering near Paradise
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A firefighter holds a cage full of rescued cats Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fire Captain Steve Millosovich carries rescued cats in Big Bend