The National Fire Center is warning: High potential for fires across much of America’s natural forestland. Wildlife at risk.
A historically dry winter and the hot spring that followed, have left fire-fueling, dry vegetation on the ground. Creating the “perfect” conditions for an earlier start to the fire season. States like Colorado and California have already seen their share of fires this year. Larger, faster fires picking up quickly amid the hot and dry conditions.
Unfortunately, we’re already seeing a bit of a preview of what’s to come. This past June, firefighters battling the flames in Colorado spotted a lone injured bear and immediately called Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers.
All four of the bear’s paws were badly burned when wildlife officers found him resting in reeds next to a pond. They slowly approached the injured 1-year-old bear but he did not move.
“You could tell it was in real pain".
The officers were able to transport the injured bear to a local wildlife rehabilitation center to be examined and treated. Across the road from where the bear was found a fire raged, leaving spots of charred land and burning stumps. We can’t say exactly what happened, but it looks like the poor bear was trapped between burning patches of forest and had to move quickly to save itself.
Veterinary professionals who examined the bear said that while his paws were badly burned, there was no permanent damage. The burned skin was removed, and the bear’s paws were bandaged.
Almost 3 months later, the bear had made a full recovery and was released back not far from where it was found. Upon being released, the bear hesitated for about a minute while it sniffed its new surroundings. Then it jumped from the container in the back of a pick-up truck and dashed into the thick cover of the forest.
The wild side of fire
Fires pose a greater risk for wildlife with every passing year. Dry conditions, shorter rainy seasons, and longer summers are the fuels wildfires thrive on. We are witnessing these events unfold daily as much of the west coast including California, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah, as well as Wyoming are all experiencing a brutal late summer, engulfed in flames, destructive for habitats and wildlife.
It’s during these times that we must work together as a community and pitch in to heal our environment. With the help of our planting partner American Forests, we’re planting trees all across America, making our environment stronger and more resilient. Bringing new life to lost habitats, helping our planet filter the air we all breathe, restoring balance in eco-systems almost gone forever. Our community is making a difference every day, as the saying goes, every one of us can make a difference, together we create change.