Firefighters in Southern California are currently battling four different large wildfires, which have burned hundreds of thousands of acres throughout the state. As the Los Angeles Times reports, the fires are fast-spreading as a result of gusty winds feeding the blaze.
While covering a wildfire in Sunland, California, reporter Kristine Lazar from CBS2/KCAL 9 found herself in a perilous situation, but rose to the occasion and helped save lives.
While reporting from Gibson Ranch, a family-owned horse boarding and equine event facility, flames began the engulf the animals’ shelter. Firefighters were not yet on the scene, so Lazar and her cameraman, Marvin Stone, joined volunteers to evacuate the horses to safety.
Watch the dramatic clip below:
Towards the beginning of the segment, Lazar admitted that the thick smoke made it difficult for her to talk or even keep her eyes open. “It’s a tense situation. People are very frantic,” she said.
As the situation worsened, Lazar called out to the volunteers to ask if they can help, and they are summoned to aid in leading the horses to safety. At one point, Stone even put his camera down to join the effort. They were able to help rescue dozen of horses.
Later, Lazar picked up her broadcast from the scene, saying that she had “enough excitement for the rest of the year.”
From Reporter To Rescuer
Watch her talk about the experience in the clip below:
Volunteers also threw buckets of water on the flames to put out the fire.
Lazar explained she is a city girl who has “never even ridden a horse,” but felt drawn to help. While the horses were saved, most of the barns and stables were destroyed by the blaze.
People on Twitter were grateful to Lazar and her crew for their heroic efforts:
Thank you Kristine and crew for stepping in to lead the horses out of harms way.
— Horses For Life Foundation (@_HorsesForLife) December 6, 2017
— bd560 (@bd560_1988) December 6, 2017
We’re so glad these brave souls were there to rescue our equine friends.
Another Dramatic Rescue
Another heroic rescue story to emerge from these devastating fires is that of a man who risked his life to save a rabbit from the flames. A news photographer caught the rescue on video, and it’s since gone viral—racking up over 34,000 likes and 14,000 retweets from the ABC7 Eyewitness News Twitter account alone.
See the dramatic rescue below:
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) December 7, 2017
While most are praising this anonymous man’s effort to save a wild animal, some would rather he hadn’t. As one writer pondered in a Slate article titled “Wild Animals Do Not Need to Be Saved From Fires“:
“… it is irresponsible to spread this video widely and cast him as a hero. If he had caught fire, wouldn’t the bystanders or people in cars passing by have had to help him? Doing so would have put them at risk, too. Several people could have ended up injured or worse because he tried to save a (wild!) rabbit.”
Certainly the man risked his own safety in rescuing the rabbit, but further, some wildlife experts say the animal may not have needed rescuing at all—as absurd as that sounds after watching the fiery footage.
A common bit of advice from wild animal experts is to leave wild animals alone—even during a fire. As a LiveScience article points out, the rabbit may have had a litter of bunnies was trying to return to.
Alas, we hope not, and we are glad to hear of some heroic, good news coming out of this tragedy.