Environment & Science

Sand Fire: Animals return to Wildlife Waystation

One of the old tigers at the Wildlife WayStation sanctuary inspects a Christmas tree inside his cage.
One of the old tigers at the Wildlife WayStation sanctuary inspects a Christmas tree inside his cage.
Ruxandra Guidi/KPCC

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Approximately 400 exotic animals that had to be evacuated from the Wildlife Waystation during the Sand Fire are now safely back in their habitats.

This isn't the first time the Sylmar sanctuary has been threatened by fire. In 2009, the 127,00-acre Station Fire forced the organization to evacuate many of its inhabitants.

But founder Martine Colette tells KPCC media partner NBC LA that the Sand Fire came dangerously close to the 160-acre facility: "The very thought of having these animals burn was unbelievably frightening."

Dozens of volunteers rushed in to remove and transport the animals.

With the tigers and capuchin monkeys safely back in their homes, Collette is raising funds to speed up future evacuations as wildfires are now a constant threat.