OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A K-9 specialist and her human remains detection dog return home to the Bay Area after a two-week deployment to Maui to help with wildfire aftermath.
Julie Padelford and Rampage are part of a California Task Force the Oakland Fire Department coordinated.
The pair arrived at Oakland Airport Friday afternoon.
"I've worked fires before. This is the hottest fire I've ever seen. They were estimating that the fire was 2,500 degrees or hotter. We cremate people at 1,400 degrees so you can see what the difference there was," Pedelford said.
Rampage can find remains that humans alone cannot.
"The dogs were very successful in what they can do. It came to the point where our dogs are getting odor but the anthropologists weren't necessarily weren't able to make identification," Pedelford said.
The reality for us humans is tragic, but to these working dogs- it's strictly a game of search.
"You put it away when you're working because we have a job to do. And the dogs, that's their job- and it's our job to keep the dogs up and moving and if we get depressed, it goes right down the leash so you have to be in work mode," Pedelford said.
Padelford has trained dogs since 1995.
"I love working with the dogs, I love trying to figure out what they're telling us - they're the smart ones. We're trying to catch up to what they're telling us and figure it out," Pedelford said.
Four-year-old Rampage is Pedelford's tenth trained search dog.
"He has incredible drive. It's hard to stop him he can climb incredible things as far as agility wise. He loves to work," Pedelford said.
For the first time at a search and rescue scene - Pedelford said in Lahaina, she had to put boots on Rampage's paws to protect him from the rubble.
She's looking forward to being home - but knows the work on Maui continues.
"I am honored that I could be a part of this deployment," Pedelford said.
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