The wildfire in Diamond Springs the afternoon of Aug. 16, which devastated the Patterson Ranch, also forced many residents to evacuate their homes in the nearby Lake Oaks Mobile Home Park. Friends and family members rallied round to help evacuate those in danger, including Charlene White, of Camino, who traveled to Diamond Springs to assist her mother, Barbara Varner.
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In the process, Charlene discovered a very young baby gray female squirrel nearby, who had fallen from its nest in one of the trees that had caught fire, and was suffering from smoke inhalation and singed fur. In addition to helping human residents escape the fire, Charlene immediately called Sierra Wildlife Rescue about the baby squirrel, which was soon collected from her by experienced SWR rehabber Wendy Braun. In addition, Charlene notified residents in the area to keep an eye out for wild animal fire victims, particularly babies who could not escape as readily as adults.
Other SWR rehabbers had also been notified to await calls from residents near the fire finding orphaned or injured wild animals, and some went to the site early the following morning to look for survivors. Among them were Judy and Bo Thompson, who shortly received a second gray squirrel baby, most probably a sibling of the first, from Charlene. The baby gray male was transferred to Wendy, and both baby squirrels were cleaned up, hydrated and treated for minor scorching and other injuries. They are now happily settled in and cuddling together, taking their formula well and thriving.
SWR expressed its thanks to Charlene for her compassion in rescuing the baby squirrels from the fire.
“We could not do what we do for the animals without people like her, who are concerned about animal, as well as human, lives in the wake of a disaster, or under the many other circumstances in which they are endangered,” the press release stated. “All of our wildlife is precious, and we are very grateful to the hundreds of people who have rescued animals to be placed in SWR’s care over so many years.”