Ava, a draft horse receiving treatment at the UC Davis veterinary hospital for burns she sustained during the LNU Lightning Complex fires

2020 Wildfires: Latest Response Activities

Last updated: 9/1/2020, 1:37 p.m. PST

How we are addressing emergency response during the COVID-19 pandemic:

UC Davis Veterinary Medicine is caring for animals injured by the LNU Lightning Complex fires even as our clients, students, faculty and staff are personally affected by those fires that have struck in our home area. This situation is different than usual for us also because of the issues caused by the pandemic, which has impacted the capacity of our hospital as well as other veterinary facilities in Northern California.

To respond to the fire in a way that best utilizes our resources and to assist the greatest number of injured animals, our veterinary hospital clinicians and staff will prioritize our response to emphasize ambulatory (in the field) and telehealth consultation to maximize our service within our treatment area. Animals judged to need more intensive care or surgical intervention will take priority as hospitalized patients.

In addition, we are treating and discharging animals from the hospital as quickly as safely possible in order to treat the greatest number of animals that we can. This involves returning animals to owners or evacuation centers when possible, and utilizing a network of foster homes for others. In previous fire responses, we had more capacity to keep some animals for longer-term non-critical care.

We are committed to treating as many animals as we can that are affected by the fires, and we greatly appreciate the community’s support during this extremely stressful and difficult time. Please also stay tuned to this page and our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages for updates.


Total Animals Treated to Date at VMTH: 35
Total Animals Treated to Date in Field: 1,040+

September 1, 2020

The UC Davis veterinary hospital received three sheep today. All are from the same flock and are being evaluated for burns by the Livestock Medicine and Surgery Service.

August 30, 2020

The UC Davis veterinary hospital received one tortoise today. The 7-year-old tortoise is being treated for smoke inhalation and second-degree burns.

August 29, 2020

With the LNU Lightning Complex Fire becoming more contained, VERT has not received any deployment requests for the past three days. Similarly, no further animals have been admitted to the UC Davis veterinary hospital from the fire for the past two days. Our VERT teams remain on stand-by: the Avian Strike Team for needs at the Solano and Sonoma County Fairgrounds; the Animal Search and Rescue Team for Solano County; and the Livestock and Equine Strike Teams for needs at the Solano County Fairgrounds.  

August 27, 2020

The UC Davis veterinary hospital received one horse today. She was treated by the Equine Internal Medicine Service and the Equine Ophthalmology Service for burns to her face and eyes.

August 26, 2020

Overnight, the UC Davis veterinary hospital received one alpaca, bringing the total number of alpacas brought to UC Davis to 11. The make-up of the other 19 animals treated at the hospital so far is: six goats, five horses, three llamas, three cats, and two sheep.

August 25, 2020

The UC Davis veterinary hospital received its first unidentified cat from the wildfires. The cat is a male, neutered orange tabby. It is NOT microchipped. There are photos of the cat and protocols for identifying it on our Facebook page.

August 24, 2020

VERET veterinarians treating an emu
VERT veterinarians evaluate an emu injured in the LNU Lightning Complex Fire.

Overnight, the UC Davis veterinary hospital received two animals - one horse and one cat named Ned. Ned's owner, Linda, lives with her family on a large ranch off Pleasant Valley Road north of Vacaville. Unfortunately, their home was lost, as was her brother-in-law's next door. Linda managed to get 11 of their 15 cats off the property safely, along with two goats and two horses. Ned was one of the four missing cats, but was found the next day. Three of Linda's cats still remain missing.

This morning, VERT deployed a team of four (one faculty veterinarian, two resident veterinarians, one DVM student) to Solano County to perform search and rescue missions in the Vacaville foothills. They also performed wellness examinations on animals sheltered in place, evaluating, triaging, and/or treating 170 sheep, 100 cattle, and 40 pigs.

August 23, 2020

Overnight, the UC Davis veterinary hospital received seven animals - four goats, two llamas, and one horse. All were promptly cared for by the after-hours emergency team at the Large Animal Clinic.

This morning, VERT deployed a team of four (one faculty veterinarian, one resident veterinarian, and two DVM students) to Solano County to assist with animal search and rescue missions.

August 22, 2020

Overnight, the UC Davis veterinary hospital received two animals - one llama and one goat. Both were promptly cared for by the after-hours emergency team at the Large Animal Clinic.

Yesterday, local county OES contacted the UC Davis Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT), informing them that help would be needed soon with treating animals in the field.

This morning, VERT's Avian Strike Team deployed a team of six (one faculty veterinarian, two veterinary technicians, and three DVM students) to the evacuation center at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. At the fairgrounds, they evaluated, triaged, and/or treated 217 chickens, 24 geese, and six ducks.  

This afternoon, county OES requested further help, and VERT's Livestock and Equine Strike Teams deployed a team of 16 (three faculty veterinarians, two resident veterinarians, and 11 DVM students) to the animal evacuation center at the Solano County Fairgrounds.

After departing the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, the Avian Team joined the Equine and Livestock Teams at the Solano County Fairgrounds. Together, the three teams evaluated, triaged, and/or treated: 46 chickens, four ducks, two geese, two emus, and two guinea fowl (Avian Team); 21 horses and six donkeys (Equine Team); 144 goats, 21 sheep, 20 cattle, and 17 alpacas (Livestock Team). Additionally, the Livestock Team cared for more than 200 sheep sheltering in place in the field.

August 21, 2020

The UC Davis veterinary hospital received four animals today - three alpacas and one horse. All were promptly cared for by the Large Animal Clinic.

August 20, 2020

The UC Davis veterinary hospital received six animals today, all alpacas. One has been hospitalized, and the other five were treated for minor injuries. The compassionate teams of veterinarians, technicians, and students are working tirelessly to care for these animals. The veterinary hospital and the Veterinary Emergency Response Team remains on alert to service as many animals as possible that are injured in the fire.

August 19, 2020

The UC Davis veterinary hospital received seven animals that were injured in the LNU Lightning Complex Fire – two horses, two sheep, one alpaca, one goat, and one cat. Ava, an 11-year-old draft horse was brought in from the Quail Canyon area. She was the sole survivor of six horses owned by a young woman who is also an RN who lost her home, truck, trailer, everything. Puzzler is a Welsh pony who belongs to a friend and was brought in along with Ava. The alpaca was brought in by Good Samaritans after being found near Vacaville. Currently, we do not have any update on the cat, the goat, or the sheep other than they are being treated by critical care specialists.

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has taken the following steps in response to current fires:

  • The UC Davis veterinary hospital engaged its Disaster Response Leadership Team and has initiated action to put the hospital on standby. Preparations to accept and treat animal fire victims are in progress. As the community's leading tertiary veterinary care center, the UC Davis veterinary hospital will provide as much resource to our community's veterinarians and animals as possible. While the hospital is prepared to accept patients, the majority of animal care will be focused on treatments in the field, as COVID-related protocols and hospital emergency services already at capacity may impact the number of patients accepted.
  • The Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT) is on standby to deploy once an official state/county request is initiated. VERT will respect the first-responders incident command and wait for the official request for deployment to ensure the safety of all involved.

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has multiple online resources for animal owners to prepare for and deal with natural disasters: