Santa Rosa's Safari West reopens after devastating North Bay wildfires

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Safari West in Santa Rosa opened Monday morning for the first time since the devastating North Bay wildfires six weeks ago.

The animal preserve is lucky to have escaped with minimal damage, and no loss of animal lives.

"It's so exciting.We are going to feed a giraffe today," Yorba Linda resident Sam Carswell said "We were originally booked to stay in the cabins, which don't open until spring. We were going to make a full Safari of it and they re-booked us for the tour, but for last Saturday. And we were there, but they couldn't open until today, so we regrouped and now we are here today."

RELATED: Thousands of animals, Safari West surviving North Bay fires is a 'miracle'

Safari West didn't have too much fire damage, but just enough to keep the place shutdown until now.

"We had some fence lines burned down on our cheetah enclosures, as well as the hyena enclosures, and then we were waiting for the rest of the county to get access to us, we didn't have power for four weeks,"

The park is not back 100 percent as they still don't have phone service and probably won'y until January, but the workers are happy to be back.

Even the animals seemed to be happy to see people. "The reason I know that is anytime we walk by the enclosures, the animals come right up to the fence,"

The cabins have smoke damage that's why they won't reopen until the spring. However, the staff decided it was important to get everyone back to work and back to normalcy even if it isn't perfect yet, and hope their guests will agree.

Click here for full coverage of the North Bay fires.
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