Monday, October 5, 2009

U.S.F.S Ranger loses homes, and animals in fires

One of the homes lost in Sheep fire was owned by Bobby Wright, the US Forest Service worker who was assaulted last month in Lytle Creek

Contributions may be made to the Lytle Creek Ranger Station, 1209 Lytle Creek Road, Lytle Creek, CA 92358. For more info call 909-382-2851

Friends say Bobby Wright is relying on faith to get him through his loss.

He doesn't have much else left.

The U.S. Forest Service employee lost his home Saturday during the Sheep Fire northwest of Lytle Creek.

The 20 dogs he had rescued died in their kennels as the flames roared up Lone Pine Canyon.

Less than a month ago, he was attacked and beaten while writing a parking citation in the course of his duties.

Six years ago, he lost his previous home in the Grand Prix Fire. That time, he was able to rescue the dogs before it was too late.

Wright, 63, had been living in a mobile home east of Lytle Creek for about two years. The property is at the end of Swarthout Canyon, a winding dirt road in High Desert terrain.

He had been helping with evacuations Saturday as the fire rampaged through thick brush toward his mobile home, his dog kennels and his co-worker's horse stable.

Wright tried to get home to rescue the animals, but his co-worker and friend, Forest Protection Officer Jack Kennedy, decided it was too dangerous.

"I was tempted to let him go back in there, but the flames were moving so fast, we both would have been killed," Kennedy said. "The flames were swirling like a tornado and sounded like a railroad."

A helicopter was able to douse Kennedy's barn, sparing the horse, but Wright's dogs couldn't be saved.

"This was the second time he lost everything he owns," Kennedy said.

Kennedy, who lives in Wrightwood, offered him a place to stay Saturday night, but Sunday the town was evacuated.

Wright returned to the charred rubble of his property Sunday to bury his dogs. He could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Six years ago, Wright was living in the Middle Fork area of Lytle Creek when the Grand Prix Fire swept through and left his home in ruins.

Kennedy said Wright then lived in a church until two years ago.

After losing his Lytle Creek home, Wright got a job as a Forest Service recreation technician, patrolling forest land and checking for violations, Kennedy said.

On Aug. 31, Wright was writing a $5 citation for illegal parking at Applewhite Campground near Lytle Creek when he was hit from behind, kicked and beaten. He didn't realize he had been mugged until he arrived at the hospital, Kennedy said.

One man has been arrested in the attack, and warrants have been issued for two others.

As a seasonal employee, Wright had been scheduled to be laid off in the coming weeks, but the Forest Service has guaranteed he will have a year-round job.

"He doesn't know what to do. He has nowhere to go," Kennedy said. "Right now he's holding on to his faith."

Forest Service employees are taking donations to assist Wright in recovering from the fire.

Contributions may be made to the Lytle Creek Ranger Station, 1209 Lytle Creek Road, Lytle Creek, CA 92358. For more information, call 909-382-2851.

Source: - Link


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  2. I am so sorry to read about Bobby Wright loss. I have a kennel of dogs and some horses and the thought of wild fire rampaging through terrifies me. Please extend my condolences and tell him to hang in there. Everything happens for a reason and something good will turn up....eventuallly. I always say if I had know there was a test I would have studied.

  3. Could you please update the correct Zip Code to read 92358. The original LA Times article has corrected this error.

    Thank you.

  4. Thank you for covering the story about Bobby Wright. Having spent much of my life in nature as a professional photographer. I have met many backcountry rangers like Bobby Wright. As a photographer for CAL FIRE, I have seen the devastating impact of wildfires. And as a dog lover who always brings his dog everywhere, I know the love we have for our four-legged-companions.

    I have forwarded the story about Bobby Wright to all of my dog friends and acquaintances and asked them to make a donation. I have made a donation as well. After calling the Lytle Creek Ranger Station, I was told, checks should be made out to the Lytle Creek Volunteer Association with the comment Bobby Wright Fund. The checks should be mailed to Lytle Creek Ranger Station, 1209 Lytle Creek Road, Lytle Creek, CA 92438.

    Keep up the good work at the California Fire New Blog.

    Thank you.

    Michael Routh
    Smoke Chaser Photography


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