They are the hidden victims of the wildfires sweeping Northern California: dogs, cats, horses and other pets their owners were unable to take with them as they fled.
Now the animal welfare officers, vets and volunteers of Sonoma County have stepped in to help, telling DailyMail.com they have fielded 'hundreds' of calls in recent days.
Among the worst affected are cats because instead of – like dogs – obeying their owners when they tried to take them with them, they ran away.
Many have suffered burned paws and smoke inhalation as the fires raged.
John Skeel, 52, director of Sonoma County Animal Services, lost his own home to the devastating wildfires rampaging through the area but has been working around the clock since Sunday night to help save pets in need.
Volunteers have traveled from as far as San Jose, 100 miles from the epicenter of the disaster in Santa Rosa, to help care for horses and other livestock displaced by the fires.
The hidden victims of the California wildfires: Dozens of cats, dogs, horses, and other pets have been rescued after owners were unable to take them with them as they fled from wildfires raging across Northern California
Rescued: Sonoma County Animal Services shelter has fielded 'hundreds' of calls of animals suffering from smoke inhalation and burn injuries in recent days (Pictured right is Dr Katie McKenzie)
Most dogs will go to their humans when something happens, but cats their find a way over the fence, to get out and escape. This pup was left behind by its owner and was rescued in Santa Rosa
Cats have been with worst affected, because unlike dogs, they do not obey their owners when something happens, and instead, run away. Many are suffering from scorched paws
And vets have been dispatched to the area by the California Veterinary Medical Association to look after animals injured in the blaze – and expect to stay until at least the end of next week.
Meanwhile, welfare officers have been performing hundreds of checks in the evacuation zones around Santa Rosa and Sonoma, leaving food and water for pets that are safe and bringing injured animals back to the Sonoma County Animal Services shelter for medical care.
Smaller animals such as cats, fish, and birds are being looked after at the Santa Rosa shelter while larger beasts have been taken to the nearby County Fairgrounds.
There, volunteers are caring for approximately 500 horses made homeless by the enormous wildfires, which have killed 31 people so far, along with cattle, sheep, pigs and goats evacuated from farms nearby.
Skeel, who is originally from Brighton, UK, told DailyMail.com: 'This has been surreal – you don't expect it.
'Because many people are under evacuation orders and had to get out of their homes quickly and can't return, we're getting literally hundreds of calls to do welfare checks.
'We go to the address, check on the dog, check on the cat, check on the fish, make sure they've got food, water and then we leave them.
Wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through California wine country on Monday and continues to rage on, with death toll rising to 31. About 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate
Destroyed: In many cases, if pets were left behind by their owners, most are likely to have already perished in the wildfire
In this aerial view, a burned neighborhood is seen in Santa Rosa, California on Thursday. Hundreds of people are still missing
'If they're not safe or they're sick or injured, we bring them back here [to the rescue center].'
Many of the pets brought into the shelter are felines, most suffering from burned paws and smoke inhalation.
Shelter vet Katie McKenzie, 38, of Healdsburg, California, told DailyMail.com: 'Most dogs will go to their humans when something happens but cats run away.
'That's why we are seeing so many more cats than dogs.'
Among the fire victims was a 10-month-old male kitten being treated by Dr. McKenzie when DailyMail.com visited the shelter on Thursday.
The animal had been found at a home in Santa Rosa earlier that afternoon and was suffering from severe burns to its feet; including pads burnt through to the bone.
In a neighboring room, two more bandaged cats were recovering after being sedated so their burns could be treated.
One, a gray mix-breed, had already found its owner while the other, a purring black kitty, is still waiting for its family to come forward.
Other rooms in the shelter held more cages of cats; some rescued from the burn zone and others boarding while their families find new homes of their own.
Shelter vet Katie McKenzie (left) 38, of Healdsburg, California, is seen treating a sedated cat for burns and smoke inhalation
A white and grey-colored cat remains nameless and without an owner at the shelter after it was treated for burn injuries
Some animals have already been united with their owners, but this purring black kitty, is still waiting for its family to come forward
The shelter has been doing multiple welfare checks, arriving at addresses to check on dogs, cats, fish, and make sure they have food and water – but leave the pets in their homes
A cage of chickens had also been brought in, while another, smaller, cage held a tiny pet finch; its tail feathers burned away by the blaze.
Huge piles of donated supplies were in the yard behind the shelter, among them cat carriers, heaps of hay and purple paper bags of pet food.
According to Skeel, more donations are needed, with water and food bowls, babywipes and money to pay for ongoing care among the priority items.
Along with Dr. McKenzie, veterinary care is being provided by Dr. Jay Kerr, 65, of the California Veterinary Medical Association's Disaster Reserve Corps, who has been making a 60 mile round trip from the Bay Area each day to treat injured pets.
He is leading a team of 20 volunteer medics caring for animals caught up in the fire and says many of the pets from Santa Rosa and the surrounding area have had to be sent elsewhere to free up space.
Most have gone to neighboring Marin County, although some have been sent as far away as San Francisco – an 80-mile drive from the town.
Most of the animals he has treated have been suffering from burn wounds but he warned that for some of the pets left behind in the wildfire areas, help has already come too late.
He said: 'Unfortunately, if pets were left in the home, in many cases, they're just gone. The cats fend better than the dogs – they find a way over the fence, to get out and escape.
Smaller animals such as cats, fish, and birds (pictured above is a finch) are being looked after at the Santa Rosa shelter while larger beasts have been taken to the nearby County Fairgrounds
RIP: Some tiny critters, unfortunately could not be saved. A hummingbird was found dead after it was trapped in smoke
Larger animals have been taken to the nearby County Fairgrounds. Pictured left is Sophie, a Palomino Cob, and right, is Nonne, a Friesian, both of whom narrowly escaped being burned alive at their home in the Trione-Annadel State Park just outside Santa Rosa
'I think that's why we're seeing so many cats. We don't know how many [animals] are still out there. This [fire] moved so fast – it covered 40 to 60 miles in hours, it jumped a six lane highway.
'Pets that were in the way would just be gone. There's no way to know how many died. There's 3,500 structures gone – many of those are homes. How many had pets in them?
'The people who were in them would have had to leave, jump in the car and go.'
As well as cats, many of the animals that were left behind included livestock such as cows and larger pets such as horses and goats.
Many of those remain in their burned out pastures, with food and water left for them by welfare officers such as 48-year-old Ken Clarke and 41-year-old Brian Whipple; the latter in charge of directing operations at Sonoma County Animal Services.
Others, having survived at least one night in the open, have been taken to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds by volunteer rescuers or their owners, where they are being cared for until it is safe to return home.
Among the horses being cared for there are Nonne – a Friesian, Sophie – a Palomino Cob- and Lazer – a black Cob – all of whom narrowly escaped being burned alive at their home in the Trione-Annadel State Park just outside Santa Rosa.
Huge piles of donated supplies were in the yard behind the shelter, among them cat carriers, heaps of hay and purple paper bags of pet food – but still, more are needed
Volunteers Theresa Casella, 31, and Helen Lighthouse, 34, traveled to the area from San Jose on Wednesday and said they would look after Nonne and Sophie, whose owner Marti Dodge, 64, lost her entire property, for as long as needed.
Casella, a mother-of-one, told DailyMail.com: 'We got here last night about 10.30pm. I have had horses my whole life and people just needed a helping hand.
'Somebody let us borrow a truck and trailer – we picked up our supplies from our church in San Jose and just came straight up here. '
Lighthouse, a former eventer, added: 'We just want to help, do whatever we can do. Organizing, walking horses, field work, anything.
'A lot of people have full time jobs and there's owners who can't come back so we're just here to help for as long as we're needed.'
John Skeel, 52, director of Sonoma County Animal Services, lost his own home to the devastating wildfires rampaging through the area but has been working around the clock since Sunday night to help save pets in need
Jackie Sciacqua, 61, and her husband Larry, 57, are among the owners evacuated along with their horses and said they are grateful for the help they had received.
Jackie, whose horse Lazer is being cared for at the Sonoma Fairgrounds, told DailyMail.com: 'We had to leave him and leave all of these horses on Sunday night.
'We woke up at 12am, saw an orange glow back there. Our daughter called us and said we had to get out of there.
'Marti [Dodge], who owns Sophie and Nonne, her pasture was on fire. We could see the flames – they were just across the street from us. We had to get out, we had to leave Lazer.
'We got out that night and went to our daughter's house. We came back the next day and said we've got to get our horses out of here.'
The couple, who still don't know when they will be able to return to their home, added: '[The response] has been unbelievable.
'When we showed up, we were unsure about what to do and they said, don't worry about anything – you can keep your horse here as long as you need to.'
Skeel, who is leading the charge to save the pets of Sonoma County, says the operation will go on as long as it is needed and told DailyMail.com that he will worry about the cost later.
He said: ' When you get an emergency like this, it's like do whatever it takes, get whatever resources are necessary and do the accounting later on.
'The outpouring of support has been incredible. The way the staff have come together – no one has ever really seen an emergency like this before.
'The place I lived in burned down. Another staff member who works here lost their house – they were in here at work the next day.'
He added: 'I'm living in the office – I've been here since Sunday at 1am. That's why I'm in borrowed clothes. We're supposed to not work more than 12 hours but I'm here so I get sleep when I can.'
Currently, 21 fires continue to burn in and around the Napa Valley, with a total of 191,000 acres consumed by the disparate blazes so far.
Although some have been partially contained, including the Atlas Fire east of Napa and the Tubbs Fire north of Calistoga, Dr. Kerr, a veteran of three major wildfires, says he doesn't see the disaster response coming to an end any time soon.
He said: 'This is my third major wildfire but this is the worst. Usually, they're starting to wind down by now but with this one, there's no end in sight.'