A Hampshire firefighter who helped rescue horses and evacuate llamas during unprecendented wildfires in California has returned home.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service watch manager Jim Green spent the last year working with fire rescue in the US and got more than he bargained for.
He was there to train with US authorities and work alongside veterinary teams to exchange knowledge on animal rescue procedures.
The 44-year-old father of two worked closely with the UC Davis Fire Dept. and spent time with Station 2 Sacramento, one of the busiest in California receiving 6,600 calls on average each year.
He added: “The year abroad has given me experience of being involved in planning for, and participating in, major incidents of a scale you rarely get in the UK.”
During the year abroad California experienced one of the wettest winters on record, which led to 200,000 people being evacuated due to fears of a breach of the Oroville Dam.
Mr Green also experienced one of the hottest summers which led to some of the most devastating wildfires in the state’s history scorching more than 1.3 million acres and, subsequently, deadly mudslides.
He said: “The effects of these fires were devastating and at the centre of the activity was a huge animal need with injury, displacement and welfare needs that became more evident as time went on.
“First responders, veterinarians and volunteer rescue groups worked for days to provide assistance to human and animal victims of the northern California fires.”
In his time in California, he created an animal rescue response team within the UC Davis Fire Department and delivered training to veterinarians, technical rescue teams and the other fire departments.
He also commissioned research while working at the University of California, prompting a new way of keeping animals calm during rescues. He said: “Animal rescue has a huge bearing on the safety of humans.”