If you’ve lived in California for any length of time, you know that summer brings fire danger. The rest of the year is spent trying to avoid a future bad fire season, but there’s only so much humans can do.
You learn to keep brush cleaned up on your property. You create a “defensible space.” If you’ve ever been in the path of a fire, you’ve probably had your car packed up and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
But despite the best preparation, fires still have a mind of their own and catch people off-guard. According to CBS, as of Tuesday there were 17 fires burning in California alone.
The Mendocino Complex fire is taking most of the spotlight because it is the largest California fire on record. Having covered 450 square miles, it’s likely that it will continue burning for some time.
With a fire that big, the best volunteers can hope to do is keep lives out of harm’s way. Bands of good Samaritans have been working night and day to round up animals and take care of displaced people and their pets.
One volunteer, Shelina Moreda, recently posted a video of a pup who got too close to the flames. His story will never be known in every detail, but the state of his body tells enough.
The German shepherd was lying on a tarp, his fur matted and his paws burned so bad the pads were peeling back. His eyes, weepy and dirty, had been affected, too.
“This poor boy was burnt all over,” Moredo posted, his paws crisped and smoking. He had walked up to this man, one of his neighbors.”
“Ken made a little bed for him, and was caring for him even though Ken had earlier in the day watched his own house burn to the ground.”
They rinsed his paws and gave him some food, trying to keep the poor dog comfortable until they could get more adequate care. But even as they tend to him, you can hear them making immediate plans to look for more displaced animals.
Moredo posted an update on her Facebook page, stating that the group of volunteers she was working with was out of this world.
“They are 100% volunteers, donating their own time and gas and equipment to this effort,” she wrote. “The only good thing about this fire is seeing people coming together and supporting each other in their biggest time of need.”
“It’s one of the deepest, most emotional things you can be a part of, yet there are zero tears, no low feelings, we are all banded together and working around the clock to do every last bit of what we can to bring little shreds of peace and security to our neighbors, people we have never met, because that is what you are supposed to do for fellow humans.”
“I could not be more proud of this group of superheroes that I’ve known for less than a week, who now feel like family. I’m taking a break to sleep for a couple hours, because we are told that winds will be picking up tonight, which means we have work to do soon.”
“Thank you to everyone for your outpouring of support, even just the kind words. It means so much more than you know. The biggest thing you can do to help right now, is get the word out to all in the line of fire, that we are a group of volunteers, with lots of animal experience, who will get any kind of animal to safety, and we have places to house them.”
Even the people who had lost so much themselves are eager to help in any way they can. Thanks to caring, determined people like this crew, many animals will be saved from meeting an untimely end.
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