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Fire at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil

To prevent any momentary stress, we will start this post by saying that everyone at the sanctuary is fine. All of the elephants, people, chickens, dogs, cats, goats, lambs, tapirs, ducks are well.

Yesterday, the sanctuary property was impacted by a significant fire (quick note- the fires here do not remotely compare in size and severity of those in California thankfully). There have been fires throughout the state for the past month, with a hotter dry season and rains that are delayed a little over a month. A few days ago, the firemen came to our property because of a fireline to North. It was slow-moving, typical of fires here, and they figured we had a few days of preparation before it might arrive on one of our borders. Unfortunately, one of our neighbors set a back burn to protect their own property, and it came down into ours. Due to high winds, this fire took off and began raging through the upper part of the sanctuary (the elephants are in the lower part.)

For those who have read our posts on this in the past, we have a set emergency plan for fires, and some of our dedicated supporters helped us purchase prevention and firefighting equipment. All of this was put to good use yesterday. As in our plan, all of the elephants were brought back towards the barn, into the three smaller yards. Mara, Rana, and Bambi were in yard 1, Maia in 2, and Lady in 3. Fire breaks were widened (just in case), our tractor ‘Rosie’ and the water tanker were moved to different locations throughout the day to wet down potential issues, and teams from the municipality and firemen worked with our phenomenal team to protect the elephants.

The fire was volatile, and everyone working to control it said they hadn’t seen a fire like this in their entire career. It quickly made its way up the back of the property and towards the house. Everyone fell back and had a newfound focus on protecting the other animals at the sanctuary, and they were amazing. We had to chuckle a little (yes, during these times, you have to find something to laugh/smile at) that Alma, our blind tapir, slept through almost everything. Sally and Georgie (the goats) and Milo (the sheep) seemed to enjoy tormenting their new ‘friends.’ It only took a few minutes to work its way through the border of the house, then headed down the hill.

Because of the slow down and direction of the winds, back burns were set to protect the elephant yards. The safest and most controllable place to set them was at the creek’s border, so across the creek in 4 & 5 was intentionally burned. Intentional burns were set on different sides of the yards, at varied times, when the conditions were right. The elephant yards are a little island in the middle of a blackened terrain. All of the while, the elephants remained calm, enjoying their extra goodies. At times they appeared to watch- Bambi would smell in the direction of the fire, Mara would put her ears out and look, but not in a stressed way. They did better than we would have thought, but they seem to love to show us to never underestimate them. Lady, at one point, did seem a little uncomfortable with the number of people around (this was while they were working near her yard), so Scott or myself stayed with her until the team left that area- just relaxing, feeding her some hay and fruit, and chatting about the world.

At 3:30 in the morning, we went to bed knowing that about 85% of the sanctuary had burned but that things were now quiet and everyone was safe. There are still plenty of big trees that went untouched, but the landscape has definitely changed. Thankfully, we already know that mother nature will do a phenomenal job of restoring the land to a healthier state. And….the forecast is for rain tomorrow.

Big thanks to everyone that help us make the sanctuary safe every year- just in case. Your gifts did not go unnoticed or unused. Many thanks to all of the guys (sorry, there were no women) who showed up determined to make sure not a single fuzzy hair on any of our elephants was harmed. And to our own team, who never fails to step up, no matter what the need. ❤️

We know people may have additional questions, but it’s the weekend, so our US staff is off, and we are oddly a little busy. We apologize ahead of time, since responding is always so important to us, but this is a bit of a special circumstance. Thank you.

video- this is taken during a high point in the fire, but you can see how relaxed they all were. we did not record Lady, those of you who follow us regularly know she is not generally a fan of the camera and this definitely didn’t seem like the time to be doing anything she might not be 100% comfortable with.

Comments(40)

  1. REPLY
    maria villa says

    Thank God u are all well. tears here, for all this stress u all have through it all.

    • REPLY
      Dawn says

      Oh my goodness! A scary time but thankfully you are all well. Sending hugs for humans and elephants, not to mention chickens, tapirs, dogs, etc.

  2. REPLY
    Eve D Brattland says

    TY for the update, so relieved all are safe.

  3. REPLY
    Wim says

    How terrible for everyone wonderful you’re all safe. Hope the after stress is manageable.
    Please be careful and alert. Love to you all.
    Stay safe and protected.🙏

  4. REPLY
    Barb says

    Oh my heart skips beats and knees shaky to hear of this news. Thank goodness all people and animals are safe. Hearing about how dry it has been has made me aware of the potential threat of fire. Thank goodness you have contingency plans in place. Kat, your calming voice helped me .

  5. REPLY
    arie says

    Well, that was a very close call and thank God, everyone is ok! 🙏

    So amazing you guys never seem to lose your sense of humour and I’m sure Lady liked her chat about the world 😅

    love you all ,🤗❤️

  6. REPLY
    Deb Moore says

    Kat do you have any estimate as to how much land of yours was affected ? Thank you for the calm update with the girls, and a HUGE thank you to all who came to help you all thru this fire. AGAIN, glad that your place was in place and you had what you needed. Lastly, I am happy I WAS NOT THERE. I would still be running around like a goose!

    • REPLY
      EleComposer says

      around 85%

      • Deb Moore says

        So sorry, missed that in the post. I am just sick.

  7. REPLY
    Anna Kircher says

    Sending blessings and gratefulness your way that your foresight and hard work was able to keep everyone safe, and support in your belief that the land will rebound. May the elephants dance in the rain!

  8. REPLY
    Alejandra(Sandy)Enquin says

    dios🙏gracias que estan todos bien.que angustia 🙏pero saber que estan bien❤‼️proteccion,salud,amor,para todos en el santuario bendito sea‼️❤🙏

  9. REPLY
    Elaine richard says

    Bless you, tired and anxious as you must be, for taking the time to fill us in on the fires! There are not, actually, many times in my irreligious life when I’ve actively prayed … but I pray now for rain at the sanctuary. And I pray that all of you, two- and four-legged, will be safe. I’m so very sorry this could have happened, but know, even as you suffer, that you’re able to look on the bright. There will be rain. There will be restoration of your beautiful sanctuary. I send love. (This is so faint that I can’t read it, so am hoping you can.)

    • REPLY
      Marian Hussenbux says

      We in the Animal Interfaith Alliance in Britain send our love and very best wishes to you all. Thank you for being so effective and caring and we are are holding you all in the Light.

  10. REPLY
    Pamela Linnstaedt Lewis says

    Grateful you are all safe and well. Great job!

  11. REPLY
    Nishant Bhajaria says

    I am so glad everyone is safe at the sanctuary 🙂

  12. REPLY
    Tammy says

    So very sorry this has happened how scary for everyone involved but extremely happy you are all fine including every lil cute hair on the girls heads! When I read the word fire my heart just sank I got sick to my stomach so I can only imagine what you were going through in real time so thanks to everyone who helped out and glad to know you are safe. Anything we can do just let us know and you’ve got it! Love and hugs to the girls and you all God Bless! Tammy from Minnesota 🙏🐘💗

  13. REPLY
    Vicky says

    So thankful that everyone is safe! And so proud of the girls for being so brave-they never stop amazing me. Stay safe, everyone!

  14. REPLY
    Carol says

    So grateful you are all ok, everyone is precious there💗hope you enjoy a well deserved rest now if possible.
    Take care to all.

  15. REPLY
    Pam says

    So glad everyone is safe, Sorry for the loss of habitat but as you said it will come back even better. Glad you prepared for this and for generous supporters to provide equipment, etc. Enjoy the rain and I hope it will kick-start new growth.

  16. REPLY
    Andy Ingram says

    I am so glad all of you (animals and humans) are safe and accounted for through the ordeal. Big hugs to all at the GSE. 💕🐘

  17. REPLY
    Cyrann says

    Thank God your all safe ❤️🙏

  18. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    Thank goodness the elephants, humans and all other animals are safe. Were there any shortcomings that you would have discovered that you really need for fire-fighting? We can chip in to make sure the equipment is there for another time. I hope the fires were only burning the dried grass that will not be missed, as with the rains everything will flourish once more.

  19. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman Eaton says

    Oh no! My heart jumped when I saw the word fire. Thankful and ever so grateful everyone is safe.

  20. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    Damn. I am so glad that everyone is ok. I’m speechless, but oh so grateful that you had the gear and the help to get through this. You all are in my thoughts, as always, with wishes for rains and luck to help restore the Sanctuary to it’s green glory. I still haven’t watched the video provided, I just wanted to send you and the girls some love and best wishes first.

  21. REPLY
    Carol says

    Kat, Thankful all God’s children at the sanctuary were spared any physical injury. The thing that resonates with me and is quite disturbing, is the fact that a neighbor set a “preventative” fire which spread to your property. How can something like this be curtailed going forward???
    Blessings and calm being sent!

  22. REPLY
    Alana says

    My thoughts are with you & may the rain be on time & make the place safer for all. Thanks for including good news re all the residence. Stay safe!

  23. REPLY
    g hilton says

    How can we help? Love you so much. Ask anything, we’ll try, x

    Love g

  24. REPLY
    Barbara Edis says

    Thank goodness no one of any species was hurt! Many blessings on your neighbors and firefighters who showed up and helped protect you all. I hope the older trees aren’t too badly burned. And for sure let us know if any additional equipment will be needed.

  25. REPLY
    Lynn Kinley says

    My heart is breaking, but I’m very thankful that everyone is safe. Sending healing thoughts and love for the Sanctuary grounds and everyone there who’s emotions must be so raw. Scott, Kat and team, may you have peace in your hearts, knowing that all lives were saved and the land will heal. With love and thanks, Lynn

  26. REPLY
    Sunny says

    I live in San Luis, Argentina, and we are waiting for the rain.

    Come on rain down!

    We love the updates but, please, take all the rest you need and more.

    And of course, don’t disturb the beautiful lovely Lady.

    💕

  27. REPLY
    Barb Campbell says

    Thanks so much for this update I am so happy all are safe 🙏🙏🙏💗💗💗🐘🐘🐘

  28. REPLY
    Paula says

    Lamento profundamente que el fuego, finalmente, alcanzara al Santuario por negligencia de un vecino.
    Los acompaño con todo mi amor desde lejos.
    Gracias a dios todos ustedes están bien.
    No puedo imaginar cómo se sentirá ver todo el territorio…, por favor, Scott, Kat y equipo no decaigan, todo renacerá, la naturaleza siempre se abre camino…

  29. REPLY
    janet stone says

    wow im so sorry ..fire is a scary horrible thing and im so glad your all safe and hopefully its over for good….Be safe …

  30. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    So thankful you’re all okay and to all that helped keep you all safe!

  31. REPLY
    Terry says

    COME ON RAIN!!!! Asking the Universe to cleanse the earth and your lives with enough water for ALL that is needed!!! I’m sure you guys are way exhausted!!! Thank you for taking the time to keep everyone updated!!!! COME ON RAIN!!!! 💦💦💦💦💦✌

  32. REPLY
    Rachel says

    Boy – my heart skipped a beat when I read the title. Thanks so much for the quick assurance in your first sentence that everything and every creature, human and animal, are fine. Please let us know if there’s anything you need – anything we can do to assist with the recovery of the land. I can’t imagine the stress you all felt but not surprised by the calm and focused demeanor that is sooo GSE. Hugs and praises ❤️

  33. REPLY
    Bo says

    Oh ppfff what a huge scare but very good to hear everyone was able to follow the ‘how to keep everyone safe’ plan and that it worked!!!
    Hope you all can keep positive and calm, and hope the animals all can keep calm as they probably don’t know what is going on…
    Again, hope everyone can continue and focus on the positive!

  34. REPLY
    Nancy says

    What an awful experience to live through for all involved. So thankful that every one is safe. 85% is massive

  35. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    I give heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped during this frightening time. So many brave people. There is a quietness in me today. I am relieved everyone, human and animal, is safe. The loss of habitat will recover in time but wildlife must have suffered.
    It was so good of you to film the girls who appeared calm…this is very reassuring.
    Will there be a fund to help? How can I help?
    I hope the rains will come today. Bless you all, my husband and I are thinking of you…so so much…and sending our love.
    PS. on a lighter note, I am thrilled that the tractor is called “Rosie” and we share the same name! I didn’t know that….it made me smile that “Rosie” helped to dampened down areas.LOL! XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  36. REPLY
    Sherry says

    I am so very sorry to learn about this horrible fire! You mush have been petrified? I know it must be raining by now and thank
    God for the rain. Love to you all. I am praying a prayer that God will protect and comfort you all.
    HUGS

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