17 Jun '11, 6pm

With high-intensity fires raging in AZ, what is wildlife to do? Nesting birds may feel the heat more than most.

With high-intensity fires raging in AZ, what is wildlife to do? Nesting birds may feel the heat more than most.

Red Squirrel © George Andreijko Red squirrels that live in dense conifer habitat may be impacted both during the burn and after. Throughout the ages, wildlife have adapted to fire . In the long-term, fire usually benefits wildlife because it improves their habitat. In the short-term, however, “there are winners and, unfortunately, losers,” says Edward Smith, forest ecologist for The Nature Conservancy in Arizona. Each wildlife species has its own fire survival techniques. The mobile animals—such as elk, deer, pronghorn and mountain lions—run to safer ground. Black bears can hole up in dens, while small mammals and reptiles can burrow underground or seek shelter in rock dens. Research has shown that burrowing even six inches will protect animals from fires reaching up to 3,000 degrees above ground, according to Arizona Game and Fish. During the Wallow Fire , nesting birds m...

Full article: http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica...

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