Firefighter rescues bear cub in fire, then begins treatment for rabies

Yesterday Wildfire Today brought you the story of the horse that was rescued by a crew on the Mill fire on the Mendocino National Forest. Now it’s a bear…. a story not unlike the original Smokey Bear.

A Cal Fire Field Observer on the Moon fire in northern California, Adam Deem, found a bear cub while he was scouting the fire. The bear had some burns on his paws and was having difficulty walking. Deem looked for the cub’s mother but could not find her, so he caught the bear and wrapped him in his brush jacket. In grabbing the cub, Deem received some scratches on his hands.

Deem cradled the bear in his arms as he drove his pickup to a staging area. From there he and the cub were driven to the Incident Command Post in Anderson. Deem said on the way to the ICP he comforted, petted and sweet-talked the little cub.

At the ICP the Medical Unit treated the bear for dehydration and let him lick a lollipop before a state Fish & Game wildlife biologist picked it up for the trip to the Sacramento area rescue shelter.

Deem and the bear developed a good rapport. “He was giving me some kisses,” Deem said.

Unfortunately, some of those licks were on Deem’s scratched hands, which later forced him to undergo preventative treatment for rabies at Shasta Regional Medical Center in Redding. Deem said he had to have five rabies shots, and will need four more shots through next month.

“It’s absolutely worth it,” Deem said. “I don’t think anyone could have left that animal out there in that condition.”

The original Smokey Bear was a cub that was burned in the El Capitan National Forest in New Mexico.

UPDATE @ 0900 PT, July 18, 2008

Thanks to Tyler Dawn who let us know in the comments that the local media has a video story of the incident HERE.