Cat Nicknamed 'Smokey' Rescued from Oregon Town Destroyed in Fires
Smokey was picked up by an Oregon State Police trooper in the aftermath of the Holiday Farm Fire, which covers more than 170,000 acres
Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes in Oregon due to wildfires that continue to rage across the state — and their pets have also found themselves in harm's way.
One lucky cat was rescued by Oregon State Police this week after the Holiday Farm Fire — which covers more than 170,000 acres as of Thursday and has burned more than 500 structures — after it swept through Blue River, Oregon.
The spotted feline was nicknamed "Smokey" and was taken to a local vet, a Facebook page for official fire information shared on Wednesday. A photo of Smokey showed its whiskers singed from the fire.
"This lucky little kitty was rescued from the Blue River area by an Oregon State Police Trooper who came across the cat in the aftermath of the Holiday Farm fire," the post said. "The cat quickly became known as 'Smokey' and got a VIP ride in a Trooper car to the vet's office. Thank you Oregon State Police for rescuing this cutie!"
Blue River, a small town in Lane County, Oregon, was essentially reduced to ash after the Holiday Farm Fire swept through it, PEOPLE previously reported.
Video footage taken on September 10 and shared by the Oregonian shows structures leveled into heaps of rubble in Blue River, which has a population of about 800.
Upper McKenzie Rural Fire Chief Christiana Rainbow Plews and her crew of volunteer firefighters lost their homes in the blaze, Plews told NBC News on Sunday.
"I not only have my life to put back together, I also have a fire department to put back together," she said. "And I honestly don’t know how I’m going to do that."
"Literally the whole town of Blue River is totally leveled, so three of our houses and our business, the fire station, the post office, the local clinic," Samantha Winningham, a lieutenant in Plews' volunteer crew, added. "And we’re in a really small community, so a lot of our close family friends [lost their homes] too. It's all gone."
Winningham said that while the town's buildings were destroyed, "everyone in our town made it out and alive and safe."
"As helpless as we feel as a department, we might not have been able to save the structures but we were able to save the people. So at least we have that," she said.
Pets that have been displaced in the fire are being sheltered by the Greenhill Humane Society, NBC16 reported.
Volunteers have created a Facebook page to help reunite pets with their owners and to organize care of pets whose owners had to evacuate.
To help communities facing destructive wildfires in the Western U.S., consider donating to the following organizations:
• The American Red Cross allows donors to direct funds to support people impacted by the fires.
• GlobalGiving’s Wildfire Relief offers emergency funding to local efforts providing essentials to wildfire victims in need.