Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter taking in pets of fire evacuees for free

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter is helping care for the pets of wildfire evacuees for free, county officials announced Friday.

As of Friday morning, roughly 64,000 people had fled the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire that has so far burned more than 50,000 acres in southern San Mateo and northern Santa Cruz counties, according to Cal Fire officials. 

The fire is still burning out of control and it could be weeks before people are allowed back into their homes, fire officials said Friday. 

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Evacuees who can't care for their animals during the crisis can drop them off at the shelter at 1001 Rodriguez St. in Santa Cruz between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

People can also call (831) 471-1182 for any emergency animal services. 

Animal shelter officials ask that people try to place their animals with family, friends, local veterinarians or pet boarding facilities before bringing them to the Santa Cruz location since space is limited.

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"We are reaching capacity but we also have our Watsonville shelter that we can open if need be," said spokeswoman Erika Anderson. "Right now we have hundreds of chickens here."

People can also pick up pet food and other supplies at the Santa Cruz shelter. 

To donate to the shelter's disaster relief fund, people can visit the shelter in person to go to