Southern California

Rescuers Hopeful About Dog as Search for Missing Firefighter Continues

Eighty-six rescuers are involved in the sixth day of the search, officials said

Day Six of the effort to find missing Arcadia firefighter Mike Herdman in the Los Padres National Forest continued Saturday with search crews watching for any signs of Herdman’s dog Duke.

Searchers brought in the Los Angeles animal services department to set a caged trap to capture Duke on Friday, after the dog was spotted twice in the past week. Officials said the trap includes blankets and toys from Duke’s bed at home.

"It’s not uncommon for a dog to hang out in area where the owner is, regardless the condition the person may be," Buschow said. "We are really concentrating on the area."

Saturday’s search was set to end early in the evening, but handful of search and rescue personnel may search overnight in the area. Search teams will be sent out again at 6 a.m. Sunday.

Herdman, 36, disappeared last Friday during a camping trip in the forest near Fillmore with a friend and fellow firefighter. Duke ran away from the campsite and Herdman chased after him, barefoot and wearing just a t-shirt and shorts. He was reported missing Sunday night when his friend emerged from the forest.

Eighty-six search and rescue volunteers were involved in Saturday’s mission - the largest group so far. The search effort is using two manned flight crews and two drones to search the rugged terrain. Several Southern California sheriff’s departments and a team of special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are also involved.

Some searchers have been injured in the rocky canyon, including a leg injury, a rattlesnake bite and a serious rash from poison oak.

Getting lost in this canyon is not uncommon. In 1969, six boys went missing during a camping trip there and never made it out. Locals have said even some experienced and prepared backpackers have not been found.

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