A helicopter over wildfire smoke and hills

Nakia Creek Fire

Written by Sam Ellingson on October 16, 2022


UPDATE: Wednesday, October 19 | 10:00 am

Staying Safe in the Smoke and Ways to Help

As evacuation zones are reduced and many of our neighbors escape the immediate risk of having to leave their homes, we are all faced with the challenge of considerable wildfire smoke throughout our region. Currently, the air quality in the Pacific Northwest is the worst in the United States - with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 194, outside air is considered unhealthy. Masks are recommended outdoors, and air purifiers are recommended indoors. Monitor the AQI at IQAir.com for indexes in your area.

Poor air quality is harmful for us and also our pets. So how can you keep your pet safe in poor air quality conditions? We can't give them masks, but there are some ways you can reduce risks to your pets - check out this article from AVMA about keeping your pets safe in poor air quality

Poor air quality isn't limited to outdoor only, we're also feeling it indoors. And while our HVAC system at HSSW does a great job, it can't keep up with the smoke coming in through our doors. We have borrowed several air scrubbers and are operating them throughout the shelter, but they're only with us temporarily. You can make a difference for the animals by donating one of these units for our regular use at HSSW.

HEPA Air Scrubber

These machines provide noticeable relief from wildfire smoke inside and make the space much safer and more comfortable for the people and pets. We're grateful to anyone 

HSSW Service Reminders

A reminder that HSSW animal admissions continue to be restricted to emergency only through Friday. Additionally, our Safe Haven program is available to anyone in our community displaced by the fires (prioritizing Level 1 - Red Zone - evacuations) who may be in need of temporary shelter for their pet. Families in need of this service should email [email protected] (preferred) or call 360.213.2621.


UPDATE: Monday, October 17 | 11:00 am

Evacuation Areas Shrink 

On Monday, October 17, fire managers pulled back evacuation areas as fire areas were better identified after expanding quickly on Sunday. With these changes, the HSSW campus is no longer in Zone 1 evacuation area. Our teams are now focused primarily on supporting the animals and families impacted by this fire. We will continue to monitor the event and prepare to evacuate should the need arise. 

Our team has been in close contact with local support agencies including the Red Cross and Clark County Animal Control. Today, a team from HSSW delivered crates, beds, towels, food, and other supplies to the Red Cross shelter at Camas Church of Nazarene. Early reports indicated some 30 animals were sheltering there with their families. 

In addition to supplies, we are preparing to provide temporary shelter to pets of families evacuated from the fire. Priority will be given to emergencies and families living in red zone evacuation areas. HSSW animal intake will be limited to emergency and red-zone evacuees through Friday, October 21. 

Temporary Shelter

Families who need to seek temporary shelter for their animals, due to the wildfires, should email [email protected] (preferred) or call 360.213.2621.

Disaster Planning

Fires of this magnitude are becoming increasingly common in summer months. Are you prepared when disaster strikes? Make sure you have a disaster kit that includes items to keep both you and your pet safe. 

Disaster and Emergency Planning

Updated Hours 

HSSW adoptions will reopen on Tuesday for normal hours - 2:00-6:00. Admissions will remain at emergency only through Friday. 


UPDATE: Sunday, October 16 | 7:00 pm

Level 1 Evacuation Notice

On Sunday, October 16, the Nakia Creek Fire in east Clark County jumped the containment line due to the windy, hot conditions. Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) has expanded the evacuation area. With this change, the HSSW is at a Level 1 Evacuation Zone. At this time, evacuation is not needed, but we are watching the situation carefully and have an evacuation plan in place should the need arise. The safety of our staff, volunteers, and animals is our top priority.

The shelter will be CLOSED to the public Monday, October 17 out of an abundance of caution and to allow us more time to prepare. Admissions will be open for emergencies only. Our staff and volunteers will be here as usual, unless they are impacted by evacuation zones.

At the moment, we don't have an immediate need for additional hands, but should that need arise, we will make sure to keep you informed.

This is an evolving situation and we will provide updates on this page and on social media. Follow updates on the fire at the CRESA Website.