As a massive wildfire spread along Chile’s coast last week, thousands of people evacuated their homes in search of safety.
One mother dog, however, sought refuge in an unexpected way.
Footage from the fire shows the mother burying her 1-week-old pups underneath a metal container. Firefighters in Valparaiso said residents told them they saw the dog lead the puppies away from the fire and bury them as a means of protection.
While the mother dog was not in the hole, rescue personnel confirmed she found shelter away from the flames. Rescuers searched for the animals later in the day and found all nine of the puppies alive.
“They were all alive and healthy,” said a man involved in the rescue effort.
After a local news outlet reported on the puppies’ safety, a number of residents said they wanted to adopt the dogs.
The fire was allegedly started on Friday afternoon at an illegal dumping site, where it quickly spread to cover about 740 acres of coastal land. Government officials said on Sunday that the fire, affecting the cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, was mostly contained.
Several thousand people evacuated the area over the weekend, with most returning to their homes on Sunday. The fire left one 66-year-old woman dead from cardiac arrest and injured 33 others, including 19 firefighters. Some 200 firefighters fought the blaze on the ground, while helicopters and planes circled overhead, dumping water onto the flames.
No homeowners reported damage to their residences. Government officials said they plan to draw charges against the owner of the landfill site where they believe the fire originated.
This fire comes a year after a massive wildfire burned through the area, which locals have dubbed "The Great Fire of Valparaiso." It killed 15 people, injured more than 500 others and destroyed about 3,000 homes.