A firefighter from Montana identified as Nate Sink said he noticed an elk calf lying on the ground beneath the charred forest while he was on patrol to eliminate hot areas, according to The Associated Press (AP), as reported on Wednesday.
“The whole area is just surrounded in a thick layer of ash and burned trees. I didn't think it was alive,” Sink said. Sink was helping fight a fire that just destroyed 486 square miles of land and left a trail of destruction.
Even though Sink tried to find signs of the mother of the calf, he could not find any.
It was later dubbed Cinder and was brought in for medical treatment on a farm. The animal is currently recuperating in a rehabilitation center for wildlife located in Espanola.
In a tweet on Monday, The Calf Canyon as well as the Hermit's Peak Fire shared an image of the calf snuggled by one of the rescuers.
Another picture shows the animal lying still on the ground, eyes shut.
“I am so glad little Cinder has been rescued. I have tears in my eyes reading how you rescued this helpless, sweet, baby elk,” one fan wrote.
“You all are amazing humans. True superheroes! Cinder will go on to make more elk thanks to your efforts!” Another person responded.
In the meantime, veterinarian Kathleen Ramsay with Cottonwood Rehab stated that she placed the calf with an elk surrogate to develop as nature would have it. According to Ramsay, the animal came to them with an umbilical cord still in place.
She also stated that it will likely be released to the wild later in the year.
As per the National Park Service's Pecos National Historical Park website, Elk were among the largest members of the deer species.
“Large males, called bulls, can weigh several hundred pounds and stand five feet at the shoulder. Females are called cows and are roughly half that size,” the site said.