Forest fires have been wreaking havoc all around the world. As soon as the dry weather and extreme conditions appeared, some places around the world have seen beautiful landscapes destroyed by unforgiving flames. Animals fled for their lives and all that remained behind was a desolating charred region. Last year, the El Maule region from central Chile had suffered over 100 different wildfires, destroying more than a million acres of forest. That wildfire season was the worst one in the history, also creating more than $333 million of dollars damage.
But who would restore such a huge area? It’s time-consuming and very expensive. But two women were not afraid to step in, and they also brought along three adorable workers!
20. WILDFIRES IN CENTRAL CHILE
After the Chilean forest was destroyed by fires in 2017, two sisters found a brilliant way to restore the flora. But they needed the help of three adorable furry workers that were ready to play and save the world!
This is how the story of the Torres family: two sisters and their three pooches saving the forests!
19. FORESTS TURNED TO ASH
Back in January 2017, the south-central region of Chile was suffering from a long drought and historically high temperatures. This made the wildfire season a lot fiercer, turning vineyards, forests, and homes to ash. Although firefighters did their best, the flames were too powerful.
It was that moment when the Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said it was a state of emergency.
18. HOMES AND LIVES LOST
According to Bachelet, they “have never seen something of this size. Never in Chile’s history.” Twelve countries including the United States, Japan, and Russia have helped Chile in controlling the fires. But in its wake, the fires left inconceivable destruction.
Almost 1,500 homes were destroyed, along with 1,433,000 acres of forests and 11 people…
After the wildfire, only charred trees were standing where the ecosystem was once teeming with animals, who had to run away towards safety. After the fires, Francisca Torres, the CEO of an environmental NGO called Pewos, and her sister took up the extremely difficult task of bringing back life in the forests.
16. THE THREE BORDER COLLIES
For this job, Torres needed some help, and they realized that three enthusiastic workers were ready to jump in for the task. Francisca knew that if humans started replanting, it would take them decades to rebuild the forest. But she had a way to speed up the process: she’d get her border collies Summer, Olivia and Das to help around!
15. JOHNNY APPLESEED
The idea was inspired by the legendary Johnny Appleseed, an 18th-century American what spread apple seeds across Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. So this project started in March 2017, with the two sisters recreating this Appleseed’s idea. They took a truck and their three border collies and a lot of seeds of native trees…
14. BACKPACKS FILLED WITH SEED
To accomplish the mission, the three border collies were fitted with special backpacks and were let free to run into the charred forests. And as soon as Das, the six-year-old collie, and the two other pups were free, they’d run around playing with their backpacks filled with seeds. They had no idea they were actually transforming the landscape while playing through the forest.
13. RUNNING THROUGH THE ASH FOREST
The dogs ran and romped around the old forests, sending seeds flying around on the ground. They were spreading the seeds everywhere, and Francisca hoped that they would soon turn into green leaves and give life to trees, grass, and flowers. Did their task succeed? See for yourself at #3!
12. THE FAUNA MUST LIVE
“The main thing is for the fauna to be able to live,” said Francisca. If the trees and flowers would return to the forests, so would the insects, birds and animal return to their home that was devastated by the fires. The three dogs were the happiest workers ever!
11. RUNNING FREE
Usually, Summer, Olivia, and Das would get nuts about running free in the forest, even if they didn’t know what the purpose was. And as Francisca explained, her pups were very effective at covering the ground. Wait until you hear how much area they ran every day – #8!
10. THE BEST WORKERS FOR THE TASK
Border collies are known as sheep herding dogs. They’re considered working dogs, which means they’re highly active, they love to run and to perform certain tasks. It turns out that the task of spreading seeds was also perfect for them – they’re very fast, they’re intelligent and have high endurance, but they always stay focused and don’t get distracted by other things.
9. HUMANS CANNOT WALK THIS MUCH
The best thing was that the three pups could cover a huge area. You see, for a human to spread seeds around everywhere it would take two miles per day. But considering how big the forests were, it would have been a very long mission!
8. TWENTY MILES PER DAY!
However, the dogs were able to cover almost ten times as a human would be able to. Yes, Summer, Olivia, and Das ran almost 20 miles per day. And they even got a lot of rewards for their playtime in the forest! Each time the trio returned with the empty backpacks, Francisca rewarded them, and then refilled the backpacks…
7. GETTING A LOT OF REWARDS
After a refill of treats and seeds, the three pups went back to play in the forest – and spread the seeds.
Francisca Torres said in an interview that every day they came “out with the dogs and the backpacks full of native seeds, and they run for the burned forest spreading the seeds.”
6. SIXTY POUNDS OF SEED PER DAY
Believe it or not, but these pups were great for the job! Each pup spread almost 20 pounds of seed per day – meaning they spread a total of 60 pounds per day just by running and playing around in the forests in Chile. Although being a very serious job, the dogs had a lot of fun while doing it, said Torres.
5. HAVING A GREAT TIME
“They reeeeeally love [it]!!” Torres said in an interview, adding that for the dogs it all felt like a “country trip, where they can run as fast as they can and have a great time.” Here they are running through the forest – that’s the face of a very happy dog!
4. FIFTEEN FORESTS IN FOUR MONTHS
From March to June, Summer, Olivia, and Das went to 15 forests in the Chilean region that was devastated by the flames. Each forest was filled with seeds, and the results didn’t fail to appear! Here’s what Francisca said about it…
3. FLORA AND FAUNA COMING BACK
By June, the team had good news! They have seen “many results in flora and fauna coming back to the burned forest,” said Francisca. It was no doubt that the dogs earned their treats! By the end of the summer, the seeds would have germinated and started attracting animals back home!
2. TAKING SOME REST
The furry trio will be spreading more seeds, but meanwhile, they will also work with sheep and take some more disc and obedience training. As for the payment of the seeds, the treats for the dogs and the costs of transportation, they were all paid by the Torres sisters.
1. CHANGING THE WORLD
“Border collies are supersmart!” said Francisca, and there’s no doubt about it. The best thing is that these pups were just having fun while saving the forests. Thanks to the Torres sisters and their happy workers, the woods are slowly growing back!