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Stranded Woman Starts Forest Fire In Desperate Attempt To Get Help After Giving Birth In Woods

OROVILLE, Butte County (CBS SF) -- What started out as a shortcut turned into a four day ordeal for a woman who was nine months pregnant and eventually gave birth while lost in the Plumas National Forest.

When Amber Pangborn started going into labor, she found herself fighting for not only her life but that of her daughter.

"I was just thinking, oh my gosh, i wasn't sure if we were actually going to get out of here," Pangborn said.

Pangborn was driving in south Oroville when she started to go into labor.

She decided to go up the highway and take a connecting road to her parents' house.

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"I was told about this back road and people had shown it to me a few times but I'd never driven it myself," Pangborn said.

As she continued on, she soon found herself in even more trouble.

"There was no cell phone service, there was no...There was nothing. And the car was out of gas," Pangborn said.

At around 5 a.m. Thursday, Amber gave birth to a baby girl.

She only had four apples and a small amount of water with her.  To make things worse, she had to fight off wasps and mosquitoes.

"The meat bees came out and were trying to get the placenta.  I was trying to get them not to sting her and I got stung trying to keep them away from the baby. But they went into the placenta," Pangborn said.

On Saturday, Pangborn managed to start a signal fire, and thankfully it was picked up by a U.S. Forest Service fire detection system.

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"The fire just went whoosh' and shot up the mountainside. And I was looking at Marissa ... and I was like, 'I think mommy just started a forest fire, honey.'" Pangborn said.

A few hours later, a Cal Fire helicopter discovered the stranded pair and sent a rescue team.

"I was just crying, I thought we were going to die. I was just so glad that someone had seen us and we were going to be okay," Pangborn said.

Amber and baby Marissa were admitted into an Oroville hospital on Saturday, and the baby was transported to UC Davis hospital Sunday.

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