Wildlife Rescue 1300 094 737

Bushfire Factsheet for Wildlife

During bushfires and emergency events WIRES can be inundated with enquires from people wanting to assist wildlife.

Many calls we take are from people wanting to assist with the rescue of injured wildlife in a direct way. While these offers are appreciated as it’s very encouraging to know that people want to help wildlife in times of tragedy, it is necessary for WIRES rescuers and carers to be trained and licenced before they are able to do this safely. Only appropriately trained members are authorised to carry out emergency wildlife rescue and care activities and even they must not enter fire areas until authorised to do so by local Fire Control Officers.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with WIRES we encourage you to attend a Rescue and Immediate Care Course so that you can join a local branch and assist with ongoing wildlife rescue and care in the future.

WIRES receive hundreds of calls to assist individual animals in distress 365 days a year. Bushfires and heat stress events unfortunately present an ongoing threat to our wildlife, particularly in the warmer months and when they occur they place additional demands on our ability to rescue and care for high volumes of animals quickly.

If you would like to help with our wildlife rescue and care work we are extremely appreciative of donations as they fund our ongoing rescue and care services and enable us to better respond to emergency events as they occur.

If you would like to donate products to help during an emergency please contact support@wires.org.au to find out what items are needed or you can donate to WIRES which is most helpful in times of emergency as the funds can then be used as and where the need is greatest.

In addition, you can also assist wildlife during fires as outlined below.

General advice for helping wildlife during bushfires

  1. Take domestic animals with you if you evacuate or keep cats indoors and dogs under control wherever possible so that wildlife can flee safely through your yard if needed.
  2. Leave out bowls of water for animals and birds escaping fires, use shallow bowls with a few sticks or stones on one side to allow smaller animals to escape if they fall in.
  3. Keep a cardboard box and towel in the boot of your car in case you find an injured animal that you can safely contain without putting yourself in any danger.
  4. If you rescue an animal that has been burnt, do not attempt to feed it, please wrap it loosely, ideally in 100% cotton fabric, place it in a ventilated box with a lid and keep it in a dark, quiet place whilst waiting for a rescuer or for transport to the nearest vet.
  5. If you can safely take injured animals to your nearest vet please do so, as injured animals will require urgent vet assessment. If you can please also call WIRES to let us know which vet you’ve taken the animal to so we can follow up with vet to bring the animals into care when they are ready.
  6. Do not approach injured snakes, flying-foxes, large macropods, raptors or monitors as these must be rescued by trained specialists, for these species please call WIRES first for rescue assistance on 1300 094 737.
  7. If you own a swimming pool and live near where fires are burning there are some simple things you can do to assist wildlife who may be seeking water. Always drape something over the edge of your pool so that animals have a surface to grab hold of and climb out. A length of heavy duty rope or even a bodyboard, secured at one end to something heavy outside the pool, is ideal as it does not absorb water and provides a platform for an exhausted animal to rest on. Pool steps are also frequently too high to allow animals an easy exit and placing bricks or large stones to the side of each step can make it easier for animals to gain a foothold and climb out. Always check your pool regularly (twice daily) including in the skimmer box. If you do find any animal trapped in a pool, call WIRES immediately on 1300 094 737 for advice.

Please remember WIRES is a registered charity and we rely on the generosity of the public to continue our rescue and care services. Donations $2 and over are tax deductible and you can donate online at any time, either once off or become a Virtual Carer by donating regularly.


Stay in touch and get our regular rescue stories, WIRES updates and a free copy of our 15 Ways to Help Wildlife ebook

Make a donation

Just $20 can help us to rescue and care for more native animals


Get In Touch

Update Details