A wildfire crew from Missoula, Montana, working a massive 316,000-acre wildfire in northcentral New Mexico, came across a lone elk calf while searching for hot spots.
“She was lying quietly in a six-inch deep layer of white ash, surrounded by the blackened remains of fir trees,” firefighter Nate Sink said in a Facebook post.
The crew observed the calf for an hour hoping the mother would return. Finding no adult tracks, they took it to a nearby ranching family and followed the advice of a family veterinarian to offer the young elk a mixture of condensed milk and water until they could get some specially formulated milk.
The calf is now at a refuge under the care of a surrogate-mother elk and will be released into the wild in a few months.
Go here to read the Facebook post and view additional photos.
(Photo credit: Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak Fire)