Tahoe City, CA October 13, 2017 – Ten engines from the Lake Tahoe Basin Operational area have been assigned to assist on the Wind Complex near Loma Rica, CA.
Engines were actively engaged in initial attack for the first two operational periods while assigned to the Wind Complex.
While actively extinguishing fires and assessing structure protection efforts at a residence, the firefighters heard what sounded like distressed horses and cows. Once on scene, firefighters found a hay barn on fire, as well as a few outbuildings. The firefighters were able to get hay from elsewhere on location and managed to feed and water the animals. Feeding and watering animals is not a rare occurrence for firefighters assisting with wildfires. It was assumed that the animals had been without food and water for over 24 hours because the property owners had limited time to escape the blaze, and property owners were unable to re-enter the area safely.
The next morning, when the firefighters returned to check on the animals, a CHP officer informed them that one horse was trapped between a barbed wire/electric fence, and a tree. Fortunately, the tree hadn’t caught fire, and the horse was seemingly healthy, albeit irritated. The firefighters, who admit they are not familiar with horses, didn’t hesitate to begin an attempt to free the horse. Firefighters cut limbs with a hand saw, and created an opening for the horse to turn around and free himself from the tree.
“Both of our strike teams have been credited with saving homes, assisting with displaced residents, and extinguishing fires” says Michael Schwartz, North Tahoe Fire Chief and Operational area coordinator for the Lake Tahoe Region.