Press release | Veterinarians Without Borders responding to out-of-control wildfires raging across Western Canada
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Veterinarians Without Borders responding to out-of-control wildfires raging across Western Canada

OTTAWA, ON, May 16, 2024 – Early on in the typical wildfire season, out-of-control wildfires are currently raging across Western Canada, threatening thousands of community members and animals. The fires have forced the communities of Fort McMurray, Alta., parts of Grand Prairie, Alta., and Fort Nelson, B.C., among others, to evacuate, with more evacuations likely to come as the fires grow. Due to dry conditions and droughts throughout the region, government officials have warned that this year’s wildfire season is likely to be unprecedented and particularly brutal. This follows what was Canada’s worst ever wildfire season last year, which saw over 18.5 million hectares burned.  
 
“Our hearts go out to these communities,” said Charmaine Brett, executive director of Veterinarians Without Borders North America (VWB). “The stress of evacuating at a moment’s notice while also arranging to evacuate your beloved animal companions, which may or may not be able to join you at evacuation centres, is almost unimaginable,” added Brett. “Given VWB’s response to last year’s devastating wildfires that burned over four million hectares across the Northwest Territories, our team is well prepared to help people and their animals during this ongoing emergency,” Brett said.  
 
Currently, VWB is collaborating with and working alongside on-the-ground partners to assess the ongoing crisis and provide essential support and resources for communities affected by the fires. VWB is also providing all pet guardians and their animals impacted by the wildfires with access to 24/7 telehealth services, through which where they can connect with veterinary professionals for triaging services.

To help with these efforts, please visit vwb.org/wildfires 
 
Get more info on evacuations here: 

To setup media interviews, please contact: 

Media contact  

Laura Eley  
Communications and Media Relations Manager  
E: laura@vwb.org  
C: +1 343-633-0272 

About Veterinarians Without Borders North America/Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Amerique du Nord 
 
Using a One Health approach, Veterinarians Without Borders North America (VWB) works for, and with, communities in need to foster the health of animals, people and the environments that sustain us. VWB works in Africa and Asia to improve the living conditions of the most disadvantaged rural populations through veterinary and agricultural services, sustainable animal production, training, value chain development and sustainable natural resource management. Additionally, we support remote Northern Canadian communities to improve animal health through temporary spay and neuter clinics, reduce the spread of rabies, and work to create the conditions for long-term, community-led sustainable animal health services. VWB also responds to crises, worldwide, and is currently providing emergency support in response to natural disasters and crises.  
 
Learn more at vwb.org  
 
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