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Using leftover hash browns and half a waffle, wildlife managers return potbelly pig to family who lost everything in Tunnel Fire

The fast-moving wildfire forced many residents to leave gates open for large pets and livestock to fend for themselves.
Credit: Arizona Game & Fish Department
Arizona Game & Fish Department was able to catch a lost potbelly pig and return the pig to its family who lost everything in the Tunnel Fire.

COCONINO COUNTY, Ariz. — Wildlife managers patrolling the perimeter of the Tunnel Fire north of Flagstaff heard from firefighters about a shivering and dehydrated potbellied pig wandering near the burned area. 

Just days before, 40 mph had rushed down the northeast side of the San Francisco Peaks giving life to the Tunnel Fire as it bore down on homes north of Flagstaff, the Arizona Game & Fish Department said in a Facebook post. 

Because of that, AZGFD said, the wildfire moved at such speed it left residents with just minutes to grab their families and go, forcing many to leave gates open for large pets and livestock to fend for themselves. 

RELATED: Tunnel Fire 30% contained as some evacuations lift, officials say

Potbelly pigs are incredibly smart – and cautious. 

So wildlife managers Kalyn Miller and Tim Holt used leftover hash browns, half a waffle, and a banana to slowly coax the pig to come close enough to catch her. 

"Some further wrangling, kicking, and high-pitched squealing ensued before Kalyn sacrificed the sleeve of his jacket as it was the perfect fit over the animal’s cone-shaped face," the Facebook post reads.

#TunnelFire Silver Lining On April 19th winds exceeding 40 miles per hour rushed down the northeast side of the San...

Posted by Arizona Game & Fish Department on Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Eventually, the pet pig was transported to the Northern Arizona Animal Search and Rescue which had already located her owners who lost everything in the fire. 

RELATED: NPS: Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument has 'burned in its entirety' in Tunnel Fire

"We hope the return of their beloved pet brought some joy during this incredibly tough time!" AZGFD said. 

The Tunnel Fire, which was first reported on April 17, has burned 19,074 acres and is 30% contained as of Wednesday morning.

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