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To the Rescue: Into the Fire

With flames threatening people and animals, rescuers in California braved the heat

With flames threatening people and animals, rescuers in California braved the heat

Many horses in Ramona, Calif., were saved in the nick of time. Rescue volunteers themselves barely escaped the blaze. LORI DONNER
"The moon gradually got redder … and redder … and then you could start smelling the smoke."

Ronnie Graves says he has never experienced anything like it before—the 4,000 foot descent down the mountains on Interstate 8 into the blazing wildfires threatening San Diego.

Graves got the call the morning of October 23 from Barry Kellogg, director of disaster services at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The fires were moving rapidly. Could Graves drive The HSUS command post from Central Florida to California as soon as possible?

As president of the Sumter Disaster Animal Response Team (DART), Graves didn’t think twice. He drove the 38-foot camper and hauler, fully equipped with veterinary area and computer terminals, across the country to rescue horses and other animals threatened by the blaze.

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