Drones join search for Geno the dog missing since Nederland wildfire


(Photo: Finding Geno/Facebook)

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NEDERLAND, Colo. -- It has been 18 days since a dog went missing from a home that burned to the ground in the Cold Springs Fire in Boulder County. And the search to find him continues to intensify.

Volunteers turned to the latest aerial technology to look for the lost and beloved St. Bernard, a dog bred for rescues but now volunteers are trying to rescue him.

"If he's in there and he's moving around, you're going to see a blue spot," said Doug La Farge with DT Aerial Photography.

Drone operators with infrared technology first walk along North Boulder Creek along Cold Springs Drive looking for Geno.

"We're just looking for hot spots on this stream," he said.

The cameras sense body heat.

"Even if we walked by him, he may not come out. And that's how the infrared camera is going to be very helpful. If he is underneath something, we can point it and get under the brush. He's a hot spot," La Farge said.

Geno went missing July 9, the day flames burned his owners' house.

"The dog has got to be starving. He's got to be scared. Traumatized, looking for his owners," said Chuck Adams with 1 Up Aerial Drone Service. "This is new territory."

The drones then take flight.

"It lets us get above tree line, to go into places, rough terrain," he said.

The advantage of using drones is they cover a lot more territory. What took drone operators nearly three hours to walk in and out of the forest took the drones 15 minutes to cover the same area.

After searching for several hours, it seems Geno will be lost at least another day. But the drones did locate deer, proving the technology works.

"We've done the creek. We don't think he is in there. Think he might be to the west," La Farge said.

And they're still optimistic he's OK.

"He could go without food for four to six weeks. We're going to do what we can," he said.

The drone volunteers said they will keep coming back to look for Geno. They said a Shih Tzu was found alive after spending 27 days alone in the mountains near Aspen.

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