SEVERE WX : High Wind Warning - Wind Advisory - Flash Flood Watch - Flood Watch View Alerts

FireWatch: 'Smokey Junior' rescued from Antelope Fire near Tennant

On August 9, the seventy-seventh birthday of Smokey Bear, Forest Supervisors located a small little bear club clinging to a burned tree after the Antelope Fire has coursed through the area.

Posted: Aug 12, 2021 4:43 PM
Updated: Aug 13, 2021 12:50 PM

TENNANT, Calif. -- On August 9, 2021, the seventy-seventh birthday of Smokey Bear, Wildlife Biologist Sarah Bullock located a small little bear cub clinging to a burned tree after the Antelope Fire had coursed through the area.

Firefighters say that Bullock deduced that the cub was probably an orphan and appeared to be relatively uninjured. Bullock then proceeded to call the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to take care of the cub.

Biologist Axel Hunnicutt responded to the call the following day, sedated the cub transported him to safety, but not before the little bear woke up.

"He was a very quiet and very polite passenger," said Hunnicutt. "He was standing up and was holding his face through the crate looking at me."

Hunnicutt told NewsWatch 12 that they were lucky to find 'Smokey Junior' or 'Little Smokey,' as some people have called him, when they did.

"I was so happy we were able to get him out of there," Hunnicutt said. "So often these things are reported and they are never seen from again. So it was a really great situation where we were able to get him and rescue him."

Yesterday, Wednesday August 11, Hunnicutt helped initiate the transport of the bear cub to the Gold Country Wildlife Rescue Center in Auburn, California where medical personnel are treating his injuries and will help rehab the cub until he is strong enough to be released back into the wild.

According to Sallysue Stein, the founder of the organization, 'Smokey Junior' sustained second and third degree burns from the Antelope Fire on his paws. Staff at the center have begun treatment on the cub's injuries and even gave him a special treat to help him get acclimated to his new temporary home.

"We gave him dessert made of a fruit cup or fruit bowl all different kinds of fruit and he liked that," said Stein. "He looked really good this morning and he came right over and wanted his formula. He is happy to have his tummy full."

Stein says that right now the bear cub has been separated from the people working in the area, to make sure that the bear cub can adjust naturally to his environment and remain wild.

She also said that the cub's recovery and rehab could take several months as they want to make sure that the cub's injuries heal but also make sure that the cub is strong enough to survive in the wilderness.

"They have to be able to grow up and be able to defend themselves," said Stein. "Right now he is so little that he cant defend himself against big male bears."

So far this year, Stein says that they've taken in and helped more than 4,000 animals. That's a couple hundred animal increase compared to what they usually see. Stein told NewsWatch 12 that the influx in rescues can not only be attributed to the increase in fires and drought like conditions in the area, but also thanks to cutting of trees in these animals natural environments, leaving them homeless. 

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
Deschutes20336125
Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
Yamhill8715113
Klamath8020119
Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
Columbia382644
Jefferson376052
Lincoln319939
Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4848946

Reported Deaths: 71328
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148303126527
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3666614183
San Bernardino3586775692
Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921400
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen754347
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
Out of CA00
Medford
Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 56°
Brookings
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 52°
Crater Lake
Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 56°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 56°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 37°
Wet and very windy weekend in progress
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events