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'That thing was so cute' | Lake Tahoe firefighter rescues baby Kangaroo from Australia bushfires

A captain for the USDA Forest Service, who volunteered to fight Australia's wildfires, talks about the viral photo of him holding a rescued baby kangaroo.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A photo of a Lake Tahoe firefighter carrying a baby kangaroo whom he helped rescue, as bushfires burn in Australia, is making the rounds on social media. 

USDA Forest Service Captain David Soldavini answered our questions about the story behind the viral photo of him and the baby kangaroo.  

What is the story behind the photo?  

Soldavini said he volunteered to help fight the fires in Australia. Firefighters, alongside Soldavini, made their way through a community to discover buildings were safe from damage. While the firefighters were surveying the structures, one of them found the baby kangaroo wandering around without its parents.

The kangaroo began to follow the firefighters around. One of firefighters then scooped up the kangaroo in his arms.

"That thing was so cute," Soldavini said. 

Soldavini said the firefighter knew an Australian law enforcement officer who was taking care of a different kangaroo that was paralyzed in a traffic accident. That second kangaroo is now acting as the baby kangaroo's mother.

RELATED: Can you knit? Rescue groups are donating homemade nests to Australia

When did this start and are there any positive changes in the weather? 

The bush fires started six weeks ago in Victoria, Australia. Soldavini said Australia's fire season is two months ahead of schedule.

Firefighters are hoping to experience monsoon moisture to push down from the north, but firefighters are not counting it reach them, Soldavini said. 

RELATED: More U.S. firefighters heading to help Australia fight wildfires

What are the similarities between Australia's and California's wildfires? 

Soldavini said the difference between Australia's and California's wildfires is the fuel source. 

"The bark on the eucalyptus trees creates headaches for them that you don't have in California," Soldavini said. 

Soldavini said the fire goes where the wind goes. The difference between Australia's and California's weather is the direction of the wind; Australia's wind is north or northeast and California's winds travel southwest. 

Editor's Note: In a previous version of this article, the firefighter's last name. That has been corected. 


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