Woman says she started wildfire to bring help after getting lost, delivering baby alone in the forest

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OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities rescued a woman and her newborn baby after her family says she gave birth in a remote national forest in Northern California.

The U.S. Forest Service says it found a mother and an infant Saturday while responding to a brush fire in the Plumas National Forest. Amber Pangborn’s mother says her daughter lit the fire Saturday as a call for help.

Pangborn’s mother says her daughter gave birth to the baby in the backseat of her car early Thursday after getting lost on a remote forest road and running out of gas. Forest Service officials couldn’t immediately confirm that she was stranded for three days.

Pangborn’s mother says her daughter survived on apples and water.

The baby is being treated at the University of California, Davis medical center. Pangborn was released from the hospital Monday.

Pangborn told KCRA-TV that after she gave birth she had to fight off bees and mosquitoes attracted by the placenta.

The LA Times spoke with Pangborn’s mother who told the newspaper her daughter had driven to a casino on Wednesday to visit a friend and try to escape the heat.  According to the Times Pangborn was the headed home when she took that wrong turn, ran out of gas and was forced to give birth alone in the forest.

“They would have never found her if she didn’t start the fire,” her mother told the Times. “She was worried what the wild animals would do.”

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9 comments

  • Frank

    I hope the Dept of Wildlife sends her the bill for putting the fire out….really a stupid woman. She must be a baby mama.

  • MRT

    I’m glad everyone’s okay for anyone to talk about what she did was wrong needs to be in that position at that time and then make the comment you make.

    • Tammy Fiebelkorn

      Most people aren’t stupid enough to run out of gas in the wilderness while taking an unknown shortcut while in labor. Also, most people have a little more respect for our national forests than to risk burning them, and all the wildlife who live there.

      • Ariana Tippery

        Most people aren’t stupid enough to assume that they know everything about a situation when they weren’t there, Clearly you don’t have that much common sense. She made a wrong turn, she didn’t deliberately decide to take an “unknown shortcut” through the forest. You’re also assuming that she was in labor when she took said “shortcut.” If she was stranded for 3 days then how do you know that she was driving while she was in labor? Maybe the stress of being stuck there caused her to go into labor early. Also, say you are alone, driving, go into labor and then realize you’re lost. Do you really think that you’re going to remain calm and think everything through rationally? So if she starts to panic what do you expect her to do? what would you do? would you keep driving until you ran out of gas or found your way out, or would you just stop & give up because you don’t know where you are & don’t want to run out of gas? Really, why would you not try and possibly succeed rather than just give up and automatically fail? I have a feeling this mother is quite a bit more intelligent than you. How judgmental can you be? Most people have a little more respect for other people. For human life. What should she have done, in your opinion? Gave up before she ran out of gas & then sat there & waited for her newborn baby (& herself) to die? I sure wouldn’t have a problem burning some trees down to save a baby’s life. I’m sure she’s very apologetic to you that she valued & respected her baby’s life more than she respected the trees. not. Yeah if wildlife is affected by the fire that’s sad but not as sad as her & the baby dying. Not to mention, forest fires actually do have a positive effect, believe it or not. They help maintain the ecosystem and ensure the survival of certain plants & animals. so how about you have a little more respect for our national forests & for other human beings & go educate yourself rather than acting like you’re so much better than people you know nothing about. Your comment says a lot more about you than it does about the lady you’re sharing your opinion on.

  • KateBMyers

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  • No One in Particular

    If I was stuck in that situation, I’d burn down more than brush to save that baby. I’d burn down houses if I had to. A lot of you make it sound like she should have just given up because she was in a stupid spot. I’d like to see even one of you people on your high horse try to make rational decisions while in excruciating pain, scared for your baby. Shame on you people. why don’t you go talk crap about the chimos we hear about all the time, why pick on this person? There are so many more deserving people to rain your judgement on.