On Monday, July 23, dry conditions in the nearly abandoned town of Whiskeytown, California, led to a devastation no one could imagine.
On Highway 299, a car malfunctioned and burst into flames. The wind picked up burning embers, lighting the parched landscape around the area.
By Thursday morning the fire had engulfed an astounding 20,000 acres, doubling in size from the previous night! Evacuations of thousands of Shasta County residents were underway.
On Saturday, it doubled in size again .
Just over a week later, the inferno had reached nearly 100,000 acres. Damage or complete destruction of more than 1,000 structures had been reported.
Over 3,300 firefighters were battling the blaze day and night, slowly regaining control.
Named the Carr Fire, it was expected to burn until mid-August.
It became the 6th most destructive fire in California history, burning until August 31st and reaching 200,000 acres.
Shelters stepped in to take care of hundreds of displaced and injured animals during the weeks to come.
One Shasta County Animal Regulations Officer was focused on a single kitten that he couldn’t get out of his mind.
Dan Evans and co-workers were surveying the area near Redding, CA after the smoke had cleared. They came upon an injured, grey male cat barely surviving in the charred rubble.
When they reached for the traumatized cat, he bolted off to hide under the burnt skeleton of a car.
They even had help from Pacific Gas & Electric, who lifted the car with heavy equipment, but could not reach the feline.
Not wanting to put the cat in further harm, there was only a small amount of movement they could attempt.
After unsuccessfully trying to save the cat, they had to move on to other areas.
They left water and food out for the starving survivor.
Over the next few days, they returned multiple times to attempt to catch the cat…each time failing.
But Dan refused to give up on the “ashy” feline.
On the fourth try, Dan calmly and softly spoke to the cat for 30 minutes as he hid under the melted metal of a vehicle.
He slowly reached in and simply set his hand, palm up, near the frightened cat.
Less than a minute later, to his surprise, the cat laid it’s head in his hand!
He gently reached under the boy and pulled him to safety.
As Dan carried the singed cat out of the wreckage, he hadn’t been able to manage more than a meek honking noise in thanks.
Dan knew of a rescue organization in the area that was focused on helping the animals from the fire; Haven Humane Society.
Haven Humane ended up taking in and caring for more than 600 animals as the fire was extinguished!
They never gave up hope on ANY of the animals in their care, ensuring safety and treatment to the dozens showing up daily.
Warning Dan that although they would do everything in their power to save the boy he’d become attached to, it would be touch and go for the next 48 hours.
Dan named him Vulcan, after the Roman God of Fire.
Vulcan had 3rd degree burns on all 4 paws, as well as his eyelids and ears.
The strong willed cat who’d survived this far wasn’t about to give up now that he was safe.
He pulled through the next couple of days like a champ!
He even managed to purr contentedly and eagerly accepted being pet on the parts of his body not burned.
Dan visited him everyday during his recovery. If Vulcan wasn’t claimed by an owner, Dan was adamant that he would be joining the Evans’ family.
After a month in recovery at the shelter, Vulcan had healed enough to be discharged.
He was welcomed into Dan’s family officially!
The happy ending for Vulcan doesn’t stop with dedicated humans to care for him though.
Dan’s has a special family member who has grown to love Vulcan more than anyone else could imagine.
Within just 2 days of their introduction, Vulcan and the family’s dog Cali Bear, became the best of friends.
Dan says that they couldn’t get Cali another canine friend due to her rough play style.
Amazingly, with Vulcan feeling like his old self, he had become a playful and adventurous counterpart to Cali.
PURRhaps due to his fighting spirit but small stature, Cali knows her limits with the tough feline.
The two love each other like no other.
After the unimaginable horrors and terror that Vulcan experienced in the fire, he can rest assured that he has a family that will watch over him for ever.
Two legged and four!
See the entire video on Vulcan’s Rescue here!