Community Residents Rally Together To Help Evacuate Families And Their Livestock
Liz Weaver, 31, lives in lower Prather with her husband, sister and daughter. Their home is in an evacuation warning area, but that didn’t stop her from organizing a team of almost 50 people to assist with mandatory evacuations.
“I started putting together a post and asking people who need help,” Weaver said. “And I just started compiling a list of everyone who was able to do what and who had room for what.”
Weaver said volunteers have moved hundreds of animals over the last 3 days including dogs, cattle and horses. They transported animals to the Fresno Fairgrounds, the Clovis Rodeo grounds and the Coarsegold Rodeo grounds. The Fresno Sheriff’s Department has helped coordinate these efforts.
She says she jumped in to assist when she saw how much more help was still needed to evacuate everyone near the fire.
“There was a huge panic at first to get people out. It was very hectic,” Weaver said. “Some of us didn’t sleep for two, three days in a row and then things finally started to calm down [Tuesday].”
While most of the evacuation efforts have been for animals and livestock, Weaver said she was especially moved when the team received a call to help evacuate an elderly woman at home with no phone or internet access.
“Her son was out backpacking. He called in to get her help and when we got there she had no idea what was going on,” Weaver said. “I would just hope that someone would help me if that was the case.”
Now that there are fewer calls to assist with evacuations, Weaver said she is focusing her efforts on directing donations to places that have taken in animals.