Help! Wildfire ten miles away!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by azygous, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    They may force me to evacuate! I need a plan for the chickens!

    Here's the situation: I live in a wilderness area, and a wildfire has been burning just ten miles south of me for several days now. So far, the prevailing wind has directed the fire towards the east, but winds change constantly so the fire could push my way at any time.

    I have spent the last several years clearing a fuel break an acre out in all directions from the house and chicken coops, so if the sheriff deputies don't force me away by gun point, I could safely "shelter in place", letting the fire front burn around me. I will move all fifteen chickens into their coops, and I'll hunker down inside with the doors and windows shut until after the fire front passes through. Then I'll go out and hose down any burning embers that have blown in around the buildings and wood piles.

    But what if they force me to evacuate? What do I do with the chickens? Has anyone faced this problem? What was your plan? I have no idea how I'd transport this many chickens or how I'd cope with them at an evacuation center. It would probably be best to leave them shut up in their coops.

    But if they force me to leave, no one will be around to hose down embers, and the chickens could be in danger if the embers stack up and start their coops burning. It's a nightmare to contemplate.

    I need some more brains working on a plan!
     
  2. jenni22776rn

    jenni22776rn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have a dog kennel you could use to transport them all with you? Even a box just something to place them in until the danger passes and you can return them home. They may be cramped for a bit but cramped is better than burned...do you have a basement you can out them in until the danger is over? Gosh how scary for you...sending positive thoughts your way! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  3. silkeysandra

    silkeysandra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you have time, ask at the feed store if they have any 3-slot rabbit carriers. These have handles, a lid that opens like a suitcase and a removable tray for droppings. I agree to keep your girls in the coop so evacuation will be quicker than chasing them down. If in a pinch, just get about 3 or 4 veggie boxes from the supermarket guy/gal and have them ready. They have a solid bottom and holes in tops. They'd be quick and free. Keep us posted. I would evacuate unless you have a REAL deep well you can use for water protection.
     
  4. Rainbow Dash

    Rainbow Dash Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, like the other person said, you can take them away in dog crates. I've seen some pretty big crates, heck I even used one as a chicken coop w/ run.
    What I suggest is that you buy one of the largest dog crates w/ plastic floor to keep them in. If you have a wire run, wrap it up and load it in your car/SUV/truck. Then, put the feeders and waterers in with your birds. Finally, keep some backup feed on hand.
    I sure hope everything evens out with you!
     
  5. crossgirl

    crossgirl Day Dream Believer

    Mar 15, 2011
    Lakeland, FL
    You have an area mowed down with low fuels or an actual fire line of bare earth? If the fire was close what would the temp in your closed coop be? Could the chickens survive being cooped up for long in the heat regardless of the fire danger from stray embers? I'm afraid of fire so while I'll cheerfully ride out a hurricane, I'd be running from a fire and taking my animals with me.

    That said, since this has been going on for several days, call your forestry service and ask them what their level of containment is at this time. If it's not looking like they're getting on top of it, inquire as to their plans for putting lines in locations that would protect your property should the winds change. Keep in mind the fire won't burn areas that are already burned out. Know where you are in relation to the fire and then you can assess whether there's any real danger. If forestry isn't making fire lines a priority in regards to your location then you can feel relatively safe because that means they feel your safe. Saving homes is a priority. Installing plow lines of your own when you live in undeveloped woodlands areas if VERY important to protect property.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Okay! These are all ideas that didn't occur to me! This is what I need, people!

    I just was thinking - if I do evacuate and leave them shut up in their coops, will they asphyxiate from all the smoke?

    My water supply is a community system piped in from the city fifteen miles away, plus a full 1500 gallon cistern. If the electric gets knocked out, the water can't be depended on. So I guess hanging around wouldn't be such a terrific idea.

    Since I've cleared so well, (I have a shaded fuel break, no grass and no ladder fuel, so a fire coming isn't likely to crown in this area) the fire fighters will be more inclined to defend my home, but I'd like to take the chickens out with me if I go. These guys are pets, and I can't bear the idea of them dying, probably from the smoke.

    I have a small cat carrier and a large wire kennel that could hold all thirteen of the girls. The two boys don't get along, and would be really squished inside the cat carrier.

    So, what would you all decide to do? Leave the chickens locked inside their coops or try to evacuate them when I go?
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  7. turtlebird

    turtlebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would heed warning and prepare to evacuate. Even with 1 acre fire break in all directions, conditions may not allow for remaining. If fire gently passes through you would probably be alright to hunker down, but if it passes with a raging wind - the heat, smoke, and embers may not be tolerable. I agree with above posters, have crates/boxes ready to move the chickens and yourself to safer ground.
    Wow, I can't even imagine what it would be like to face a threat like wildfires. Hats off for your efforts to manage your property in preparation for conditions like these. I pray you and your home remain safe [​IMG]
     
  8. jenni22776rn

    jenni22776rn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would bring them with me..regardless of how...I would! If there is a chance of you needing to leave...mabye you could get the chickens gathered together and have everything ready to go! I agree with the previous posting with calling and mabye getting some idea of where you are as far as needing to leave. It is a scary and crazy feeling not knowing! Kudos to you for even thinking of your chickens! best of luck and keep us posted!
     
  9. Rainbow Dash

    Rainbow Dash Out Of The Brooder

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    They might not suffocate, but they might. Or, they may roast to death. You really need to take them with you if possible.

    If I were you, I'd put all of the hens and 1 rooster in the large kennel, and put the remaining rooster in the cat carrier, or if there is more space, put a hen with the rooster in the cat crate. They are far more likely to survive if you take them.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd prepare to evacuate them. Carriers are good but boxes will do in a pinch. Their lungs are small and smoke could be serious. Get them hydrated before you put them in the boxes. I mix a little feed with water, they usually clean it up quickly.
    As far as hunkering down, your biggest danger is from stray embers crossing your fire line.
     

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