Peak Wildfire Season in British Columbia Prompts Urgent Plea From PETA: Leave No Animals Behind

For Immediate Release:
June 21, 2022

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Kelowna, British Columbia – As wildfire season reaches its peak, raising the likelihood of evacuations—like the ones in 2021 due to the Sparks Lake and White Rock Lake fires—PETA has placed three sky-high messages in the area urging residents to make sure their evacuation plans include all family members, from hamsters to horses.

“Because animals left behind face agonizing injuries or death during a wildfire, the time to include them in worst-case scenario plans is right now, before disaster strikes,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “The climate catastrophe has made a protracted, more intense fire season the new norm, and PETA urges everyone to prepare for evacuation now and be ready to flee flames with the whole family.”

PETA offers the following urgent reminders during wildfire season:

  • Companion animals should never be left behind to fend for themselves during evacuations. They are no better equipped to survive a disaster than humans are, and anyone who evacuates and intentionally abandons animals to fend for themselves may be prosecuted.
  • Be prepared. Put together an animal emergency kit in advance, with food, water, carriers, leashes, veterinary records, and anything else you need to keep your animals safe and comfortable during an evacuation. Make sure they’re wearing collars or harnesses with identification.
  • Confined horses and other animals can’t outrun wildfires. They should never be locked in their stalls or confined in any other way that would render them unable to flee. Anyone who sees animals in distress and is unable to help should note their locations and alert authorities immediately.

The billboards are located at Boucherie Road along the on-ramp to Highway 97 E. (facing north and south) and Highway 97 W. before the Westside Road exit, in West Kelowna.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind