Searchers Find Missing California Firefighter's Dog

Sunday, June 22, 2014
Search crews have located the dog of missing California firefighter Mike Herdman more than a week after he went missing in a national forest north of Los Angeles.

Officials said the dog, named Duke, was "exhausted" but in good shape. Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said there was no sign of Herdman and that the search would scale down starting tonight.

Herdman, 34, was on a camping trip with a friend, Taylor Byars, when he vanished chasing after his dog into the wilderness on June 13, according to Byars.

In a rush to find his dog, Herdman left behind his supplies and his shoes, Byars said. It took Byars two days to hike out of the remote terrain and contact police to start the rescue mission.

For nearly a week, search crews using drones, infrared cameras and even harmonicas have been traversing the Los Padres National Forest in search of Herdman.

However after finding Duke, Dean said that only a skeleton crew would continue to search for Herdman after a week of covering the terrain.

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The park is twice the size of the Grand Canyon and searchers described the area as "some of the roughest terrain we have in the state."

Five searchers have been injured in the rescue operation, including one who was bitten by a rattlesnake and had to be airlifted to a hospital where he remains in intensive care.

Family and friends of Herdman said they are hoping his outdoor experience and training will help him stay safe until searchers arrive.

"We are all expecting to see Mike come over the hill behind us and be surprised to see us all here," Herdman's friend Michael Macgregor told reporters earlier this week. "I have no doubt that he can survive out there for weeks."

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