US & Canada

Camp Fire: Dog missing from Paradise wildfire found after 101 days

Kingston the dog reunited with his owners Image copyright Suzanne Maxwell/Facebook
Image caption Kingston is believed to have survived by hunting skunks

A dog called Kingston has been reunited with his owners 101 days after he went missing during the deadliest wildfire in California's history.

The Ballejos family last saw Kingston, an Akita, during the devastating Camp Fire in November.

Kingston, who is 12 years old, had jumped out of their truck as they fled their home in Paradise.

A local animal rescue volunteer caught Kingston on Sunday, and the family believe he survived by hunting skunks.

About 18,000 homes were destroyed and 86 people killed after the Camp Fire broke out and spread rapidly on 8 November north-east of San Francisco.

"When I found out, [it] just about brought me to tears," Gabriel Ballejos told Associated Press (AP) after being reunited with his dog. "I'm so proud of him. I can't believe it. He's a true survivor."

The family posted flyers and contacted shelters in the hope Kingston would be found. He was eventually recognised by someone who saw a post online.

Over the weekend, animal rescue volunteers spotted a large dog on surveillance cameras before setting up a trap to secure Kingston.

"When I went to check [the trap] on Sunday, there he was," local dog-trapper Ben Lepe told AP. "It was awesome to see him and know he would be fed and warm."

Kingston, who the family say was known to hunt skunks before the fire, smelled so strongly of the pungent odour that volunteers spent several hours washing him before reuniting him with the Ballejos family.

"He still smelled even though they used stuff that neutralises the skunk smell," Suzanne Maxwell, a local resident and volunteer for Friends of Camp Fire Cats, told the BBC.

She described a "heart-warming" reunion between Kingston and his family.

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