Wildfires and your Livestock

Wildfires and Your Livestock

Livestock can be lost, injured, or killed during a wildfire. Producers can take the following actions to protect their livestock before a wildfire and begin to recovery after a wildfire has occured.

Use this checklist to get started making preparations for your livestock before a wildfire and learn what to do during and after a wildfire situation.

Wildfires and Your Livestock [PDF]

Before a Wildfire

  • Maintain detailed livesock records.
  • Use clearly distinguishable identification methods.
  • Emply land use practices that discourage fire spread (e.g., limit weeds, debris, or highly flammable trees and bushes in fencerows).

During a Wildfire

  • Above all, ensure the safety of your family and yourself in a wildfire situation.
  • If it can be done safely, allow for animal movement.
  • Proactively corral animals to prepare for off-farm movement.
  • Once you leave your property, do not return until told to do so by first responders.
  • Communicate with neighbors and/or first responders if animal are left on your property after you evacuate.
  • Use emergency identificcation methods (e.g., spray paint) if needed.

After a Wildfire

  • Document livestock losses (e.g., take photos at the location found).
  • Contact your insurance agent.
  • Do not move animals until approved by insurance or local, state or federal authorities.
  • If animals are severely injured, use only safe and humane euthanasia methods .
  • Dispose of carcasses. Check with local or state authorities for proper methods.
  • Determine eligibility for federal assistance.
  • Accept emotional or mental health assistance. Losing livestock can be a traumatic experience.

For more information, see the "Wildfires and your Farm" factsheet above.

More Wildfire Preparedness Factsheets

Additional Resources

During a Wildfire
Website with steps to take during wildfire situations.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Emergency Preparedness Helps Animals During Wildfires
Article on ways to make wildfire preparedness plans for animals.
Colorado State University Extension
Wildfire Preparedness for Horse Owners
Factsheet with key elements of a preparedness plan for horses.
Colorado State University Extensioni
Wildfires, Smoke, and Livestock
Factsheet describing the impact of wildfires on livestock.
University of California Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine
Wildland Fire Safety for Your Livestock and Pets
Website describing preparedness measures for pets and livestock.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection