California Man Reunited with Dog He Thought Had Died in Apple Wildfire: 'I Thought He Was Gone'

Firefighters rescued Buck the dog near the fire line and animal control was able to find his owner

A California man who almost lost his home in the recent Apple Fire has been reunited with his Australian cattle dog, Buck, who thought had died in the flames.

Greg Skeens told CBSLA that the recent wildfire — which has already scorched over 27,000 acres of land — surrounded his log cabin home earlier this week.

"It was one big orange flame all the way around the house, and I thought, I thought we were going to die," he said.

Luckily, firefighters were on hand and miraculously put out the flames as they neared the deck of Skeens' home. However, there was no time to celebrate as the flames pushed a wave of wild animals out of the surrounding hills and onto Skeens' property.

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Buck began "chasing a coyote three times his size," Skeens said, and the pup never returned.

"What he don't know — is coyotes eat dogs," Skeens said of Buck. "Yup. I thought he was gone."

Thankfully, firefighters were there to save the day once again as they later found the lost dog farther out in the fire line. They took him to animal control, where an officer later reunited Buck with his owner.

"As soon as she handed him over to me, he got all happy," Skeens recalled, adding that the pup latched onto his leg and refused to let go. "He didn't want me to go anywhere."

The Apple Fire has been raging through California since Friday evening. As of Thursday, the Desert Sun reports that the flames have destroyed four homes and eight smaller buildings. The only injury reported is a firefighter who suffered a flash burn when he opened the fuel cap on his chainsaw.

The U.S. Forest Service told the outlet that they expect to contain the fire by Aug. 17.

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