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Thursday, July 28

Prisoners give kind welcome to deaf canine refugees from Sand Fire

This is a great story but first an update on the fire, from KABC News; the following report reflects the official updates up to this time. Note the mention of problems with drones; the aerial rubberneckers have plagued firefighting efforts in California for at least a year:
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Sand Fire, which has burned more than 38,000 acres in the Santa Clarita area, is now 40 percent contained, according to fire officials.
It has charred approximately 38,346 acres as of the latest fire update Wednesday. Firefighters are hopeful to continue gaining an upper hand on the fire, but high heat and winds in the afternoon could hamper efforts.
"Today's temps are going to be high. It's going to be around 100 degrees. Winds are going to be around 25 mph. These conditions are perfect conditions for rapid fire growth," said Justin Correll, spokesman for U.S. Forest Service.
Acting Gov. Tom Torlakson declared a state of emergency Tuesday evening for Los Angeles County to provide more resources to firefighters and aid to victims.
Nearly 3,000 firefighters from multiple agencies work day and night to calm the blaze, which quickly exploded when it first broke out Friday afternoon.
At one point, the fast-moving wildfire threatened thousands of homes and caused 20,000 residents to evacuate. On Monday night, most of them were allowed to go back home.
While firefighters are gaining the upper hand in the fight, officials said they still have 60 percent of the fire to contain. Fire officials are also asking people to stop operating drones in the area, which has hampered firefighting efforts from time to time.
MORE: Drones interfering with Sand Fire battling efforts
Since the blaze broke out, 18 homes in Sand Canyon, Bear Divide and Little Tujunga were destroyed, one structure was damaged and five suffered minor damage.[...]

Deaf Dogs Rescued From Sand Fire Find Home in Prison
By Sam Bergum
Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016

NBC News Los Angeles

Lisa said she was amazed at how happy the dogs were. She asked about the "problem dogs," who tended to be nervous around strangers. The inmates told her they didn't have any problems. "[They] were thriving under their care," Lisa said. "[They] had wagging tales and smiles on their faces."

Nearly 50 deaf dogs threatened by the Sand Fire have found a temporary home: behind bars. The rescue[d] dogs are waiting out the fire in the Lancaster prison.

The owners of Deaf Dog Rescue of America decided to evacuate the animals from their Santa Clarita kennel Sunday night, after the fire started moving closer and closer to the property. Though they were not under mandatory evacuation, Mark and Lisa Tipton decided they were better safe than sorry.

"We knew if we had an issue in the middle of the night, [we] would be here alone with 45 dogs to load up," she posted on the rescue's Facebook page. "Not a can-do."

But the Tiptons had a hard time finding a place that could hold all of their animals, which they've rescued from across the U.S. They were ultimately invited to bring them all to the prison, where Mark Tipton operates a dog training program, Karma Rescue.

"We arrived to find the man-cages ready for the dogs," Lisa Tipton said, with "food, water, beds, and igloos."

The couple returned to their home Sunday night, planning to show up at the prison for the dogs' breakfast the next day. Lisa said she was amazed at what she saw when they arrived.

"The inmates had handled breakfast beautifully," she said. "They were getting the dogs out for exercise and cleaning their runs... I have never, ever seen anyone clean up dog poop with such glee."

The dogs, even the ones that aren't always comfortable around strangers, were just as happy, she said.

"[They] were thriving under their care," she said, "and had wagging tales and smiles on their faces."

The Tiptons said they're happy their dogs had such a warm welcome.

"To see incarcerated men of all races working so beautifully together to help others is a really amazing experience," Lisa Tipton said. "If they had turned us away, with 97 degree [heat], we would've had dead dogs in the trailer."

The dogs will likely stay in the prison through the end of the week, until the fire is more contained.

Now the rescue organization is looking for donations to cover the expenses of moving the dogs. You can donate to the shelter on their website.



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