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Disasters & Accidents

Wildfire Impacts On OR Wildlife As Yet Unknown

Karen Richards

Recalling Australia’s wildlife losses from fires in early 2020, Oregonians have wondered how our wild animals are doing. Michelle Dennehy is with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. They haven’t been able to assess places still under Level 3 evacuation, but she said, “Usually, it’s going to be healthy animals that are more likely to escape. The sick and the old or young wildlife are more at risk. And these fires move very fast, so it’s very possible that we lost healthy wildlife too.”


Dennehy said the agency conducts annual fall surveys, and those will help them understand what happened. On the plus side, new growth and young forests provide better habitat for species like deer, woodpeckers, and lizards. 


It’s not necessary to leave out water or food for wildlife, said Dennehy. It may encourage animals to congregate, which isn’t good for them. If you do leave water out, keep it away from your house and change it often.


Dennehy said they’re looking into how hazardous air impacts wildlife, but it’s not been well studied. 


There's more on the ODFW website


Credit U.S. Forest Service


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