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Q&A: The Effect of Wildfires on California Wildlife

Cara J

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Wildfires are still raging across California and while they are mostly contained, they have consumed more than 150,000 acres combined. But what happens to wildlife in fires like the Valley and Butte in California that are currently raging across the north of the state? To get a better idea of the ways animals are affected by the flames and changed landscape, we spoke to Eric Huff, a forester with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. How do burning fires affect wildlife? This is a complicated question, really. It depends on the duration of the fire, the intensity of the fire, the rate of spread, how quickly animal species, particularly terrestrial, have time to react to the fire. Obviously those species that have more ability to move more rapidly, whether they are avian species or terrestrial mammals, have an advantage. The question of fire intensity is really the key. If you think about how fast the Valley Fire spread, I liken it to a dragon flying overhead and laying fire down in a pretty narrow column of fire. I imagine that there were some animals that could not get out of the way. How about the ecosystem? You’re going [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/qa-the-effect-of-wildfires-on-california-wildlife/

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