The extent of the damage done by the Hidden Pines wildfires that have devastated parts of Bastrop County won’t be fully understood for a while. Not only are the damages to homes unclear as the blaze continues to be completely contained (although good progress is being made in that capacity), but the consequences of such a fire extend beyond the physical—both in the emotional losses and the fact that, following a wildfire like that, property values are almost certain to decrease.

But one thing we do know is that a lot of animals are going to make it. As KXAN reports, the Texas Animal Health Commission has released a tally of all of the animals that the commission has assisted by providing food, water, or shelter equipment in the wake of the wildfire.


Tuesday, the commission provided a count of all of the animals they have given assistance to: 162 cattle, 48 horses, 33 dogs, 29 sheep and goats, 9 chickens, 7 cats, 6 donkeys, 3 pigs and 2 peacocks.

“The first and foremost is human safety, we want to make sure all of us get home to our families,” says Dusty Boullion, TAHC inspector. “And then after that, we’re here for the animals. If we can get the animals to safety, that’s our biggest goal.” […]

The commission does not have an estimate of the number of animals injured or killed by the fire or its aftermath.

It’s good to know that our state agencies are out there looking after the animals forced to fend for themselves. It’s also good to know that some of the animals are doing a fine job fending for themselves. Take, for example, the Austin American-Statesman‘s story about Dupree, a tabby “hero cat” who managed to survive after his owners were forced to evacuate:

An orange tabby cat named Dupree who survived the Hidden Pines fire in Bastrop County has been a source of light amid the loss many have experienced over the past five days.

“He’s becoming a little bit of a hero cat,” one of Dupree’s owners Scott Anderson said, smiling as the cat hopped atop cabinets and played in a litter box in a room of the Smithville Recreation Center Saturday.

The feline caught the community’s attention when he was the sole occupant at the emergency shelter housed in the Smithville Recreation Center Friday night after the 244 people registered as displaced left for hotels or stayed with family.

The paper reports that Dupree’s owners, Scott Anderson and Kathy Connolly, were away from their home when the fire hit, which kept them from being able to go back and get the cat after evacuations began. But once the fire was contained, they returned to find that not only was their home intact, but Dupree had also managed to emerge from underneath the deck.

There are plenty of stories coming out of Smithville that don’t have happy endings. But as you read about the horror, it’s worth remembering that sometimes things do work out.