Facebook post offers to help Signal Fire animal owners

Created: 05/14/2014 5:35 PM
By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A single Facebook post turned into a community effort to help families affected by the Signal Fire near Silver City.

As an owner of more than a hundred pets, chickens and livestock, Deanna Hankins knows they’re part of the family. So when she heard about the Signal Fire moving towards ranched and homes Sunday, she decided to reach out to other animal owners who may have had to evacuate.

We kind of have a little organization going to help people,” said Hankins.

Hankins posted a message to a group on Facebook, offering housing for animals like cows, sheep and goats. “I will help where I can to save your animals,” she wrote.

She said the response from others also wanting to help was overwhelming.

“There’s well over 300 responses,” she said. “I’ve got people offering houses.”

Hankins has seen the damage a wildfire can do.

In 2011, the Quail Ridge fire destroyed 13 homes in her neighborhood. She said some people didn’t have time to find a place for their animals before they were forced to evacuate.

“We did lose animals. They burned,” she said. “So that’s why I wanted to post early so people have somewhere to go with their livestock or their pets and they don’t have to panic like we did out here.”

So far just one couple has had to evacuate because of the Signal Fire. The live in a cabin in the Gila National Forest. The couple and their pets are staying with relatives in Silver City.

But Hankins wants others to know there’s help out there in case they need it.

“It just amazes me how people from Mimbres, Lordsburg and Glenwood have all come together to help,” she said. “It makes me feel very proud.”

Everyone in the community is hoping more evacuations won’t be necessary. Over the next few days firefighters are going to try and contain the fire as much as possible before the winds are expected to pick up again Saturday. 

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