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Woman Escapes California Wildfire by Biking to Safety With 70-Pound Pit Bull on Her Back

By Colin Fredericson

A woman in Santa Rosa, California, rode a bicycle to escape a fire burning through her neighborhood. She had her dog in a duffle bag.

Natasha Wallace came home from college classes to see a fire rapidly moving toward her home. Despite the danger, she kept moving forward. She wasn’t going to abandon her 4-year-old pit bull, Fox 40 reported.

“I would never part ways with my dog. Ever,” Wallace told Fox 40.

After she got home, she first tried to drive away from the fire with her dog in the car seat, but the fire continued to progress.

“It was coming faster than I could leave in traffic, so I went back and got my bike,” said Wallace.

She had to get creative with her means of transportation to move away from the fire. She got a duffle bag for her dog.

“So I grabbed my dog and I told him, ‘Hey man, this is serious, you need to just sit in the bag.’ And he, he hopped right in,” said Wallace.

After biking a few miles with the 70-pound dog on her back in the duffle bag, a truck driver drove by and offered to give them a ride the rest of the way to safety.

“Everything was gray, everything was destroyed and it went for miles,” said Wallace.

Despite having her home completely burn down in the fire, the 24-year-old college student is happy to have her dog, and thankful for the driver that offered her and the dog a ride.

Other residents affected by the fire described the grimness. Jean Welch described the look of the area after the fire rolled through as “World War II,” ABC News reported.

“It looks like the pictures I saw when I was kid—when England and Germany were being bombed out,” 85-year-old Welch told ABC News, of photos she saw as a child. “[I]t looked just like this. Just piles of junk. You couldn’t even tell what it was.”

Welch was fortunate enough to come home to a house that was still standing.

Santa Rosa was one of the hardest hit areas by the wildfires devastating California. Over 9,000 firefighters are trying to quell 17 wildfires. The fires have killed 31 people and burned over 221,000 acres.  

 
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