PARADISE, Calif. (KTVU) - There are scores of people volunteering to help out after the devastating and deadly Camp Fire, where at least 79 people have died and 699 were missing as of Tuesday, the 13th day of the fire still burning in Butte County.
Two such good Samaritans are Shannon Jay of Forestville, Calif., a National Park Service officer and a self-described "cat rescuer" and Douglas Thron, 48, of Oakland, Calif., a drone videographer who captures the rescues on film. The pair have been involved in about 10 cat rescues so far since the wildfire broke out on Nov. 8, hitting the small Northern California town of Paradise the hardest.
"These cats have a very powerful desire to stay on this earth," Jay said.
There are official groups, including the North Valley Animal Disaster Group, which have been trying to match the countless lost pets from the fire with their owner through an online billboard.
But Jay and Thron are working on their own, roaming about the destruction, looking under cars and rubble for homeless cats, doing their best through word of mouth and Jay's Facebook page to match them back up with their owners. In one such rescue, Thron captured Jay working for nearly an hour and a half to free a wailing cat from under a pickup truck.
Jay also performed cat rescues during the North Bay Tubbs Fire last October, spending about 800 hours in the field on this amateur craft. "I got pretty good at it," he said.
As for Thron, who is a professional videographer and ardent animal lover, documenting the rescues has been very "heartwarming," he said.
"It's like going into a battlefield," he said. "Their paws are burned, those poor little cats. Seeing a cat get reunited, well, sometimes that's the only thing the owner has left."
IF YOU'RE INTERESTED: Jay has set a GoFundMe page to help with his Butte County cat rescues.
This story was reported from Oakland, Calif.