A thousand animals living at the Bim animal shelter in the village of Khoteichi, Yegoryevsk district, are in mortal danger. Wildfires are approaching cages housing bears, rabbits, dogs and cats.
The shelter’s staff have to fight the fires themselves, due to a lack of firefighting crews and equipment. These amateur firefighters are having a hard time. The number of fire hoses bought with volunteer donations is not sufficient. Most of the fires are canopy fires, that burn down tree trunks and blaze through the treetops.
This week visibility near the animal shelter has been as dangerously low as 150-200 meters. The shelter’s vet Andrei Lebedev says that the animals find it difficult to withstand the heat and smoke. It is especially hard for old animals and for those suffering from heart disease. The shelter houses around 300 such animals.
The shelter’s employees water the animals’ cages twice a day. Sometimes the dogs get to swim in a pool.
The Bim animal refuge is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the Moscow vicinity. It is home to 640 dogs, 270 cats and former circus animals including monkeys and several bears. The staff is considering recruiting volunteers to evacuate the animals and leave them at temporary homes in Moscow and the Moscow Region.