A hoodie-wearing “hero” caught on video rescuing a rabbit from the California wildfires has been criticised for his actions.
Footage of the man has been widely circulated across social media, showing the moment he braved the flames to rescue the wild rabbit on the side of a road near the Thomas Fire in Ventura County.
While many praised him for pulling over to save the animal, others were more critical, suggesting that he may have made things worse.
The New York Post reports that local animal experts have warned that any wildlife spotted near a blaze should be left alone — especially desert cottontails like the ones common to Southern California.
This is due to the fact that they are still giving birth to litters around this time of year and are typically keeping them safe underground in their burrows, according to Live Science.
According to the US Forest Service, wildfires actually tend to kill very few animals — with most going underground to protect themselves.
Wildfires in California are continuing to rage, with six fires now blazing across the state, leaving a woman dead and two others burned.
The fires include the Thomas Fire (Ventura County), Rye Fire (LA County), Creek Fire (LA County), Skirball Fire (LA County), Liberty Fire (Riverside County) and Lilac Fire (San Diego County).
The Lilac fire, being fanned by Santa Ana winds in rural San Diego County, has burned 400 hectares only hours after starting.
State fire authorities said more than five buildings have been destroyed, an unknown number has been damaged and more than 1000 others are threatened. Officials have said the fire is burning at a “dangerous rate” and smoke is said to be so thick that it’s covering the sun.
San Diego County officials have ordered mandatory evacuations due to the fast-moving fire.
The Liberty fire is reportedly now over 40 hectares, threatening some 250 homes.
The Thomas Fire continued its westward push, forcing a few hundred Santa Barbara County residents to be evacuated and the closing of coastal Highway 101 north of Ventura city.
In the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, the Creek Fire destroyed at least 30 homes, blackened more than 4800 hectares and forced the evacuation of 2500 homes and a convalescent centre. According to the Cal Fire website, it is just 10 per cent contained.
The Rye Fire has threatened more than 5000 homes and structures northwest of Los Angeles.
The Skirball Fire in Los Angeles has forced hundreds of residents in the wooded hills near the affluent Bel-Air neighbourhood to evacuate and charred more than 60 hectares.
Three firefighters were injured and hospitalised in stable condition, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.
State officials said the military was assisting with helicopters.