Biiiiig kitty forces fire crew standoff |

Biiiiig kitty forces fire crew standoff

A seemingly fearless mountain lion freaked out some firefighters early Friday morning during the mop-up of a 20-acre fire south of Alta Sierra.

Around 1:30 a.m., a firefighter spotted the mountain lion sitting on some rocks about 150 feet away from a parked fire engine, said Glen Ford, fire captain with Station 40 of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in Smartville.

The big cat – it looked like it was about 100 pounds – wouldn’t budge, even though firefighters honked the engine’s horn and “made a lot of noise, shined lights on it,” Ford said. “It was very bold and not afraid of us at all.”

So, from 2 a.m. until around 5:30 a.m., CDF fire crews stopped extinguishing the glowing embers left behind by the blaze.

Instead, they continued to monitor the burned area until daylight came.

“You can do that safely from inside the cab of a fire engine,” said Ford. Firefighters resumed the mop-up once morning came and the lion wandered away.

Ford said he’s never seen a mountain lion behave that way. Residents told firefighters that, for several years, a lion has been in the area off Halcon Road and “pets and animals come up missing – goats, cats and dogs,” he said.

“I can’t believe that the noise we made didn’t send it scurrying away,” he said.

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