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Seattle woman describes fire raging through Australian kangaroo refuge

A volunteer from Seattle was helping at a kangaroo refuge in Australia when the devastating brush fires reached their camp.

Animals in the path of Australia's devastating fires are getting help all the way from the Pacific Northwest. 

Seattle woman Karen Bachelder traveled to Australia in October to volunteer at a kangaroo refuge. But she never expected to be in the path of the raging brush fires. 

Bachelder told NBC News that she woke up one morning to harsh winds and immediately felt the heat from the fires. She fled the flames by going down to the shoreline, as the sky became thick with smoke. 

A local oyster farmer used his boat to rescue Bachelder.

"Once that fire came in, it just sucked all the oxygen out. So I think if we'd stayed down there, we might've asphyxiated." 

The spooked kangaroos bolted from the refuge, which was largely destroyed by flames. 

Bachelder returned to the refuge when it was safe and said most of the scared kangaroos also returned, although many had burns and suffered the stress of losing their habitat. 

Now retired, Bachelder said she was compelled to extend her October visit and has stayed to help the kangaroos through the stressful experience. 

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