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Fires...where do the animals go???
With all the crazy fires in Colorado it had me wondering where do the animals go I am sure some are overcome by fire but guess most are pushed away...so with that said there might be some areas crazy full of animals??? I'm just guessing???
Probably some perish, but the percentage would be hard to determine... I imagine the rut is winding down out there but I could just see in my mind a rut crazed bull screaming behind the flames...8^)
They go to where it is safe if they can make it
at 6000 acres/hour I guess they go to medium rare fairly quickly.
Well done, squirrel, well done!
No expert here, but I would think deer, elk and bear could easily out run a fire in most cases. Smaller critters, maybe toast.
I wonder if they were able to outrun the trouble some fire the other night. I think a lot of them probably didn’t make it.
More small game perish than large.
I would think a lot will perish but after the fire there will be lots of grass and new trees coming up. It won't take long for animals to bounce back. Some of those fires are moving faster than a deer can run especially where they had strong wind. The big fires also create their own wind in excess of 50 mph.
Some of the small critters may be able to get underground.
A herd of 30 elk were trapped in Cameron Peak and died. But most big game animals stay ahead of it. This was taken by a firefighter a couple weeks ago.
Jaquomo makes a good point. Where they go depends a lot on the fire and the human activity associated with it. When I was called out to help with fire suppression, it was not uncommon to see deer and elk. In the early morning elk could be seen feeding in a meadow. Deer would be bedded in a burned over area with smoke still popping up in different spots. Somewhat it depends on how hot and clean the burn is. If you have a "dirty" burn there may be good feed and cover remaining, so the critters will come around soon after the firefighters leave. It should be good hunting there the next season. With a hot clean burn, I would look at the surrounding area and try to figure where they moved to. I don't think they go far.
I hope some of you guys are right. But animals aren't magicians. They can't outrun major fires like we've been having and they can succumb to smoke as well. Recently, millions of animals were killed by wildfires in Australia. Right now, we can only hope for the best.
It isnt so much the "run" of the fire, as the spotting out ahead that can spread and trap them in between fire walls. The Mullen fire in southern WY experienced 70+ mph wind. Embers blew out and started fires more than 2 miles ahead. I drove through there yesterday and was amazed at how many places had a burn perimeter, then a significant unburned section, then another long wall of burn beyond.
Wildlife seems to escape fires. It’s rare that they get caught in fires from my experience being out on fires. We rarely come across dead animals on fires.
The few fires that I’ve found dead critters on are grass fires. Grass fires can move very very fast. Often killing animals. But timber fires, as fast as they seem, are still slower than animals can move.
Wondering with all this displacement if we start to see animals showing up in strange places...overload a wintering area...decide even more that they have already the suburbs are a good place to live...etc
Ermine is right. I too very seldom came across a dead deer and never saw a dead elk, when I was on a fire or going through a burn area.
Interesting info and insights. Something that I have often wondered about. My guess is that the slow burners are not too rough on big game but those conditions like Jaq cited sound like they could be a big problem for wildlife as evidenced by those dead elk.
One thing I thought about is all the feed that was burned. A lot less feed in those areas for this winter. Might need to help with feeding etc. the area is gonna be great in a few years. But this late in the year might have an effect on wildlife
"No expert here, but I would think deer, elk and bear could easily out run a fire in most cases."
You'd think so. We had a fire in Southern California in 2013 where the Mountain Fire burned across an area where there's a lot of wildlife and then into the steep cliffs of the mountains and trapped animals. I spoke with a firefighter who said he personally saw 3 different burnt mountain lions and scores of deer. This fire burnt 27K acres.
“ I drove through there yesterday and was amazed at how many places had a burn perimeter, then a significant unburned section, then another long wall of burn beyond.”
And there you have it. It’s pretty rare for a huge area to be completely burned off. The critters can step out of the way and take shelter in those pockets; not at all like in Bambi. Mostly.
Hard to imagine a lion getting overtaken, but even firefighters get caught sometimes.
Also curious for the ones that survive how their health is impacted due to lack of food. Do they simply move on to other areas? And especially before winter sets in, it may just be in their instinct to be in a certain place at a certain time regardless if all the food has been burned. Curious how many starve post fire.
As ermine said grass fires move alot faster, iv had grass fires pass me doing 60 mph in our fast attacks those fires kill things and iv still not found big game animals killed by them yet. Thats likely a yet but iv been on alot of big grass fires including the last chance fire which I believe is still Colorados largest grass fire and in the top 10 for largest wildfires.
In the grass fires we had in OK few years ago I found dead deer. Just a few that looked relatively unburned. They were on a river bank. Not sure if the heat or smoke got them. Those fires were being pushed by 60-70 mph winds though. The Starbuck fire burned about 700,000 acres. Most of that was burned in less than 12 hours.
The CPW collared some cow elk last year in the Upper Poudre Canyon [now Cameron Peak Fire area]. Id be curious to see what that data shows.
Maybe they will release it...? Anyone from the CPW reading??