CALIENTE, Calif. – A bear mauled a woman who was walking her dogs Tuesday in rural Kern County before she escaped and drove herself to a nearby fire station, said authorities.
They were still searching for the animal on Wednesday.
The woman suffered severe lacerations to her face and head and was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, said county fire spokesman Sean Collins. Her condition was not known.
"For her to be attacked in that manner and drive to a fire station, she must have been running on pure adrenaline," Collins said.
The woman, whose name was not immediately released, was taking her dogs on a morning walk when the bear attacked them near the tiny rural community of Caliente, about five miles away from an area that burned in a recent wildfire, said Collins. Her dogs also escaped the attack, but one suffered minor injuries, he said.
The woman drove herself three miles to the Piute fire station, where she was airlifted, Collins said.
Wildlife trackers and game wardens searched the remote area to capture the bear but had not found it by Tuesday night, said Harry Morse, spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Game.
He said the thousands of wildfires burning across the state have displaced wildlife, but was not sure whether the nearby fire contributed to the attack. Dogs sometimes provoke bear attacks by inadvertently getting between a mother bear and her cubs, Morse said.
Fish and Game officials said they will interview the woman to better understand the circumstances of the attack.