A calf wandering alone in Malheur County wildfire gets rescue and a ride

Incident Fire Operations trainee Russell Hamilton of Spokane and the Vale-based Snake River Valley Crew 7 returned a missing calf found on the western end of the Indian Creek Fire, outside of Juntura, to its mother on Sunday. (BLM photo)

JUNTURA – In the midst of fighting Oregon’s largest wildfires, firefighters over the weekend helped save a 4-day-old calf separated from its mother during an evacuation move.

Rancher Jeff Romans last Friday moved a herd of around 55 cattle out of harm’s way as the Indian Creek Fire east of Juntura burned out of control. His family has ranched in the area since the 1950s and he’s been on the ground for eight years.

When he brought the herd down , he expected the calf to follow her mother down the hill, but for some reason she stayed back. Romans returned to the range Saturday, but couldn’t find her, and notified the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

A BLM crew spotted her and alerted Romans, but by the time he got back Saturday night with flashlights, the calf had disappeared.

Then, the Snake River Valley Crew 7, based in Vale, spotted the calf. This time, Russell Hamilton, a BLM incident fire operations trainee from Spokane, brought her down in his truck, and she was soon reunited with her mother and nursing.

“It’s good to have them back together, and it’s good having local firefighters up there protecting our livelihoods,” said Romans. “It’s a great community we live in that we can support each other when we need to.”

Romans is considering naming the calf “Blaze” or “Rusty.”

The Indian Creek Fire burning about nine miles east of Juntura is now 48,128 acres and 40% contained, according to a Wednesday update from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The fire should be contained by Saturday, according to the BLM.


Firefighters make progress on Indian Creek Fire, Oregon’s largest wildfire

Indian Creek Fire spreads to nearly 50,000 acres as smoke hinders air attacks

Indian Creek fire grows to 26,000 acres

News tip? Contact reporter Aidan McGloin at [email protected] or at 541-235-1005.


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