BUTTE COUNTY (CBS13) — Homeowners aren’t the only ones displaced by the fires, animals and pets are evacuating to safer ground as flames tear through their normal habitats.
CBS13 photojournalist Dave Grashoff stumbled upon some goats, pigs and horses Thursday while out covering the North Complex West Zone Fire, formerly known as the Bear Fire, in Butte County.
It’s an apocalyptic scene in Berry Creek. The air, heavy with smoke and ash, is suffocating what’s left of the neighborhood. But if you look close enough, signs of life are peaking through the haze.
A dehydrated pig was spotted by Dave, who called for help. Moments later, a deputy with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office delivered some much-needed water.
“It’s tough. This breaks your heart,” Shane Peltzer with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office said. “The devastation is eerily reminiscent of the Camp Fire, which I worked two years ago.”
Once animal service officers moved in, they quickly realized they needed more muscle. Dave jumped in to help move the pig and load it in a truck so it can be nursed back to health.
Officers also saved two goats from the property while horses down the road waited for a similar rescue.
The remaining empty pens are a sign that homeowners may have tried to free their animals in hopes they could escape the fast-moving inferno. It’s a gut-wrenching reminder that coping with disaster is not exclusive to humans, but their four-legged family members as well.
It’s unclear if the animals rescued Thursday morning were injured or just thirsty and hungry. The hope now is that animal service officers can reunite them with their owners soon.