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Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network returns animals to facility

It’s been nearly two months since the Holiday Fire in Goleta destroyed over 15 structures at only 113 acres. That fire forced employees and volunteers to act fast and evacuate hundreds of animals at the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network.

After two months of being displaced, the animals have returned home.

By the carloads, they returned. Volunteers brought back the animals evacuated by the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network.

Julia Parker, who is the director of animal care says they are happy to be home.

“It is a little bit emotional, just looking at a lot of the burned areas,” said Parker. “It just takes you back to that night which was very intense, and scary, and filled with unknowns.”

It’s the first time the animals have been back since the Holiday Fire torched over 15 structures in Goleta back in July. The facility on North Fairview Avenue ended up just inches away from the fire. It didn’t burn down but did suffer major smoke and ash damage.

Scorched areas remain visible, reminding everyone just how close the flames came to destroying the sanctuary.

“We have been at the Humane Society in the education building for the last two months,” said Parker. “We moved in there with 188 birds and we continued to take in animals as we were there.”

The night of the fire, volunteers saved nearly 400 animals. All of them were housed at the Humane Society until the center was clean and safe to return.

“We had the Bucket Brigade out here for two long work days, and we had a lot of volunteers come out ready to help and spread mulch over the ashes, and clean kennels, and clean up burned drip lines,” said Parker.

During the animals time at the Humane Society, many became healthy enough to be released. Two months after the fire 67 animals return to the place originally known for saving and serving wildlife.

“It’s good to be back at our center,” said Parker. “Everyone can be at the same place working towards caring for the animals and their release.”

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