Retired Marine rescues dozens of animals from California wildfire

A deer stands on a road covered with fire retardant as the Carr Fire burns in the area on July 28, 2018 near Redding, Calif. Several people, including a former Marine, helped rescue animals trapped in the blaze. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


COTTONWOOD, Calif. — Tucker Zimmerman, a retired Marine, has joined a new battle, as a volunteer rescuing horses and other animals stranded in the deadly California wildfire in Shasta County.

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At least eight people have died in wildfires across the state, including two firefighters and three family members of a single family.

More than 110,000 acres have been destroyed.

Zimmerman has turned a giant trailer into a rescue van, venturing daily into neighborhoods that have been evacuated, Reuters reported.

“When I was deployed (in the military), I couldn’t have animals, but I am an animal lover,” Zimmerman told Reuters. He said he also helped rescue a man who was trying to save his home from the fire.

"I actually went into a neighborhood and every house was on fire," Zimmerman told KGO. "I got him pulled out, protected him with a garden hose until firefighters arrived. They took over, but I got his American flag and gave it to his wife because I promised that to her."

Zimmerman has also been taking the extra steps to find livestock owners online.

>> Photos: Carr Fire burns in Northern California 

“He restored my faith in humanity,” Noah Urban, an Oregon resident whose stranded 6-year-old horse named Bolt was saved by Zimmerman, told Reuters. The two connected through Facebook.

Horses and other livestock are being taken to stables, rodeo grounds and ranches that have opened up to house animals lost in the Carr fire.

Zimmerman is not alone in his fight to help pets and livestock.

More than 500 pets have been found in the fire’s wake, according to Shasta County shelter officials.

>> SEE: Firenado in Northern California swirls dangerously close to emergency responders 

Tony La Russa, the shelter's executive director, told KABC that nearby shelters are helping out.

People can donate through the ARF website by making monetary donations to provide medical supplies, like burn creams and bandages.

Tri Counties Bank has also created a verified GoFundMe account to help those impacted by the fires. Over $150,000 has been raised so far.

Police and fire crews are also doing what they can to rescue animals.