The Carr Fire, a fawn named Carra, and Sergeant Fawson

Sergeant David Fawson on the day he helped rescue Carra (Courtesy: Yreka CHP)

A bittersweet rescue story comes to a hopeful end today. Eleven fawns were released Tuesday at the Shasta Valley Wildlife Refuge, overseen by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The entire refuge is off limits for deer hunting, and the fawns were released in a restricted section of that refuge to ensure their safety. Almost all of the rehabilitated fawns were injured or abandoned during the Carr Fire that burned through Northern California this year.

Residents in the area will likely always remember the Carr Fire as a devastating event that claimed eight lives and left lasting damage. The July 23rd fire that was ignited by a flat tire and a few sparks on Highway 299 quickly grew to engulf over 1,000 homes, and scar hundreds more. Thousands of people had to evacuate, some of them leaving their homes for the last time. Wildlife in the surrounding areas fled as well.

"But out of the ashes, we find new growth, such as this success story," reads a statement from the Yreka California Highway Patrol.

On a Saturday morning in July, just five days after the Carr Fire started, a firefighter rescued and handed off a small fawn to CHP Sergeant David Fawson, saving it from the quickly progressing fire line. A local deer rescue, Siskiyou Safe Haven, was contacted, and they took in the baby deer. She was later named Carra, after the fire from whence she came.

At first, Carra was bottle fed with a special formula just for growing fawns. Once they are old enough, the fawns are weaned and transition to foraging for plants, just as they would in the wild. Carra was the smallest of the eleven fawns that were released today.

While Fawson was not present for the release - he is based in San Francisco - CHP Officer Shawn Gordon, who had been keeping tabs on Carra's story, was able to see her off. "She's a very friendly deer," said Gordon. "It's nice to see them get released."

"She seemed grateful. She was very attached to the people who worked with her at Siskiyou Safe Haven," said Gordon, referring to the care the workers provide during bottle feeding.

At one point during the release, Gordon knelt down to grab a selfie with Carra in the background, but the curious deer walked right up to him instead, making for a memorable photo of the two.

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