In an area ravaged by fire, a news reporter and photographer came across a hopeful scene.
Bay Area News Group photographer Jose Fajardo and reporter Erin Baldassari were doing their job reporting on the mass destruction left by the Atlas Peak Fire in Napa, California on Monday.
They drove through a dry, ashen wasteland that used to be one of the most popular destinations in the country. The rolling hills are scarred and blackened, and the massive houses are reduced to nothing more than crumbling walls.
There were no signs of life, but then they came across an unexpected sight. In the middle of the deserted landscape there was a herd of goats. The animals were alive and protected from the fire by nothing more than a flimsy fence. A few feet from the pen the reporters found a stoic female goat lying with her feet tucked beneath her in front of what used to be a house.
The goat’s eyes were unblinking as she seemed to stare in shock and disbelief at the scene around her. When Fajardo and Baldassari approached her, she didn’t react. She let them gently lift her to her feet as they inspected her for injuries. She was in shock, and the patch of singed fur by her tail give an all-too-real picture of how close she came to the flames.
The surviving goat was tired and resigned, but she was unhurt. They moved her into the pen with the other goats and set about helping as much as they could. There was water and food in the pen, but the intense heat from nearby flames melted the water spigot. With the land around the goat pen charred from fire, the goats are lucky to be alive.
Across the street, Fajardo and Baldassari found a dead horse, and outside the pen, several goats lay dead. They most likely died from smoke inhalation. There was nothing but destruction for miles, expect for the small oasis that kept a herd of goats alive. After ensuring the goats were okay, Fajardo and Baldassari drove away. The goat’s owners will be allowed back on their property soon, and their surviving animals will be a small promise toward rebuilding.
What do you think of the fires in California? Let us know in the comments.
Photos via Mercury News