Historic Arizona ranch spared from Telegraph Fire thanks to fire crews and cattle grazing


Jim and Carol Ptak were alerted to evacuate their ranch when the Telegraph Fire began to spread on Monday. They saw flames encroaching on their property.

“The fire has just about closed the only road out of your ranch. If you don’t get in the car and go right now as fast as you can, you and I are both going to die here,” an incident commander told the couple, according to ABC 15.

The Ptaks were able to herd their animals into a trailer. She even reached out to other ranchers for help and they showed up trailers in tow: “It was the most gut-wrenching experience knowing that all these people had shown up to help us and that we couldn’t, we couldn’t do it.”

However, she was forced to leave a few animals behind-- three horses and almost 60 head of cattle.

They fully believed that their lively hoods were up in flames. But, when they returned two days later they were shocked to see everything was fine and their cattle were safe.

The couple attributes the miracle to God, the hard-working fireman, and the grazing of their cattle. Her herd had been grazing on the dry brush in the area, thus limiting the fire’s fuel. The Ptaks are big proponents of grazing and maintaining public lands.

“We are very lucky and will be able to continue our operation. There’s a lot of ranchers out there who were not as fortunate,” Carol adds.

The couple started rebuilding their ranch almost 10 years ago. It is a historic ranch in El Capitan East. On the ranch, she has rare Scottish cattle.


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Story via Nicole Valdes with ABC 15