October 18, 2017 10:44 AM

Incredible stories of animal heroes and harrowing rescues have emerged from the California wildfires, and this tale of six puppies born to a stray mama dog in a field the night the fires began is nothing short of a miracle.

Santa Rosa resident Linda Hamik had been keeping her eye on a homeless Chihuahua living in a field near the Coffey Park neighborhood for about one month. She’d recently noticed the small, sand-colored dog had been gaining weight, and Hamik suspected it was pregnant. The animal lover tried to catch and coax the pup toward safety, but the canine remained elusive.

“Then the fire happened,” Hamik told

Hamik was forced to evacuate her neighborhood on Sunday, then returned on Monday only to have to evacuate again on Wednesday. It wasn’t until last Thursday that she was able to return to the field to check on her special friend, who was no longer alone: sure enough, the plump pup had given birth.

Hamik discovered six newborn puppies, with their protective mama dog standing guard nearby, in the center of an abandoned couch. A man she encountered in the field, which was also a habitat for many homeless people, said the pups were born Sunday night when the wildfires had swiftly engulfed the region.

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Aided by some of the field’s occupants, Hamik was finally able to close in on the new furry family. Despite a few fleas, they were all in good health and took temporary refuge in the caring woman’s garage.

“They are a ray of light in all this darkness,” she told SFGate.

Hamik plans to foster them until space opens at nearby Monte Rio’s Dogma Animal Rescue.

According to the post, “This family is warm and safe. Mama came out of her crate to nurse her puppies. They’re all nestled in a big bed and all pups are suckling fine.” They’ve been nicknamed the “Fire Litter.”

Dogma Animal Rescue also notes, “We are not accepting applications for the puppies from our Fire Litter that were born during the first night of the fire, rescued and evacuated from the fire zone. Emotions are high right now and we need to make sure everyone is thinking with a clear head before adopting a puppy.”

Anyone who wants to donate cash toward medical supplies and veterinary costs can click here to help the rescue.

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