Over 100 sled dogs evacuated from Greenwood Fire area

Monday afternoon, they needed it.

“Oh, maybe around 2:30-3 p.m. Monday afternoon, the sheriff showed up and said, ‘Well, the wind has changed. You have to go,'” McClelland said.

Greenwood’s fire now threatens his home and kennel. But he said the first thing in the fire plan was to put the mushing community on high alert. He did, and right away 10 mushers showed up to help him load the dogs and get them to safety.

“Everyone was on deck and everyone did a great job,” McClelland said.

His breeding consists of about 100 dogs. He stays with 50 of them at a property near Ely, and the other about 50 are scattered among the homes of other mushers – even business competitors.

“We’re friends, but we also have competing businesses. But dogs always come first,” McClelland said. “That’s how it is. That’s what’s important.”

He spent Tuesday making sure the dogs are comfortable in their temporary camp.

“We’ll be monitoring the situation. We don’t know if we’re here for two days or two weeks, so at the moment we’re just trying to set it up so the dogs are a bit more comfortable, making sure for them to be in the trees for shade in this heat,” he said.

A friend was also bringing him an RV on Tuesday and he was expecting an evening pizza delivery.

And like a real dog musher, he takes things head on.

“The good thing about a working dog or an animal that you work with is that you always have the habit of doing weird things with them, traveling with them and camping with them,” said he declared. “And so, even though it’s something dogs have never done, they identify with you and they know they can trust you. And I know I can trust them.”

Bette C. Alvarado