At the end of October, Marin Humane was called on to assist neighboring communities in the wake of disaster and to care for the beloved pets of evacuees from the Kincade Fire. This disaster response had an even trickier side to it.

As the fire grew, we transferred our adoption animals to other shelters in order to turn our Novato campus into an animal evacuation site. Simultaneously, we set up and staffed a pet shelter adjacent to the Red Cross human shelter at the Marin Civic Center.

Within minutes of welcoming the first wave of evacuees, virtually all of the electricity in Marin County was turned off as part of PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program. Shortly thereafter, 57% of the cell towers in the county went dark. We lost our internet access, phones, refrigeration, HVAC, laundry, and other basics we depend on. Communications became extremely challenging with many text messages and phone calls failing to go through.

With most staff and volunteers left without power in their own homes, we were grateful to find a few local stores whose generators helped us secure food for our hardworking staff and volunteers! We also found gasoline about 20 minutes away to run our small generators. And, as our animal food supply dwindled, our friends at Hill’s Pet Nutrition arranged a special delivery of donated food.

Through it all, we were honored to help more than 200 evacuated animals and provide peace of mind to each of their guardians during a very stressful time.

We’re now refining our disaster plans to include the new reality of PSPS so we are better prepared to respond to future disasters.

As always, we’re tremendously grateful to our tireless volunteers as well as partners who stepped up during this time, and of course, our generous donors who enable us to respond when we’re needed most.

For information about disaster preparedness for your pets, visit