Airlines Fly Pets Of Wildfire Evacuees To Safety

Last week, more than 80,000 individuals were forced to evacuate Fort McMurray and the surrounding area as wildfires tore through the Alberta city.

Many had only enough time to grab their pets and fled with only the shirts on their backs. But thanks to at least two airlines, they aren’t separated from their beloved animals as they find shelter.

Canadian North and West Jet airlines welcomed the pets of evacuees in the main cabin, most without carriers or kennels, which owners did not have time to bring. “It’s definitely unusual to carry pets in the cabin, but due to the unusual circumstances we were able to bend the rules to accommodate these animals,” a Canadian North spokesperson told HuffPost Canada.

Dozens of flights carried passengers and their pets from Fort McMurray to Calgary and Edmonton. One flight by Canadian North had more than two dozen pets on board including dogs, cats, and a turtle.

"We weren't going to let people leave their pets behind,” spokesperson Kelly Lewis told CBC . “We know how much they love them and we love animals, too."

Meanwhile, volunteers at a shelter serving evacuees made room for people to keep their pets while they’re displaced, CBC reported (scroll down for video).

There’s also a crowdsourcing effort underway where individuals can drop a pin on a map where a pet has been left or found. Hundreds of pets have been reported on the map as of Monday, May 9.

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Also, residents of the area can report missing or found pets on this Facebook page.

Get a sneak peek inside one of the shelters here:

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A photo posted by Desiree Denney (@desireedenney) on


Get tips from the AKC on what to do if you need to evacuate due to a fire or natural disaster by clicking here.

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