Fighting Flames, Saving Houses, Feeding Pigs…It’s All in the Job Description of a Firefighter
Last week, as Briceland firefighter, Diana Totten, led her crews in a battle to stop the flames of the Ranch Fire from pouring into Clover Valley above Upper Lake, a few wild animals fled past. On and off for three days and nights, Totten’s division fought in that section of the massive Mendocino Complex. One evening a group of six apparently wild pigs, one with deep ragged scratches, approached.
A large wild pig with tusks snuffles the ground near fire trucks on the Mendocino Complex. [Photo by Diana Totten]
Ash lay like snow on the hills around the valley.
Photo taken not long after a plume of smoke collapsed. After a collapse, erratic winds that increase the fire activity often arrive. [Photo by Diana Totten]
Totten, a division supervisor on the Mendocino Complex in Lake County whose job was
Flames pushing into Clover Valley. [Photo by Diana Totten]
The firefighters gave the pigs some food, too. “We left lunch scraps,” Totten said.
They also saved homes in the valley that were threatened by the fire. “
Flames above a residence in Clover Valley. [Crop of a photo by Diana Totten]
Totten, who is home from the incident now, said that she has been thinking about all the animals affected by the massive wildfires burning across California. She explained she has seen many animals fleeing the flames–“fox, coyotes, skunks, deer, pigs, everything.”
She said, “[M]edia coverage has been so much on how these fires have affected people,” she said. “[But, I] realized how many thousands of animals have lost their lives and how they are displaced. I thought about how many miles they’ve traveled—some with foaming mouths.”
She paused and added, “Wrap your mind around almost 350,000 acres of fire and the thousands of critters who lost everything… .”