Quandary questions Colo.’s call to the wild | SummitDaily.com

Quandary questions Colo.’s call to the wild

The wild fires in California make me wonder, will any of the displaced wildlife be coming our way?

It's true, as the smoke starts to billow, the wildlife starts to run (well most of them anyway). You see, unlike humans, those of the four-legged variety don't need reverse 911 or door-to-door evactuation notices. Instead, we have the good sense to run; forget little Timmy's first paw print, fire means it's time to make more tracks. So yes, animals in California are definitely on the move. Some because of the threat of danger and others because they no longer have a habitat to call home. Either way, those beach-bum bears are trying to find nicer accommodations.

However, much like that vagabond roommate in college who told you he was packing up to head for the coast, chances are they won't get too far. There are plenty of nice places between here and California for a nice animal to call home, so in all probability Summit will not see many make their way here. Not to say we don't have plenty to offer, but you know those Californians, they'll stop at the first cave they can squat in.

The guys at the top of the food chain play this game a little differently from the rest anyway. You see much like a man camped on his roof with a six pack in a hurricane, some animals view a wildfire as a challenge. The quantity of small animals fleeing the area provides a variable smorgasbord for the opportunistic predator. This means that many of the big guys, like bears and even some of the littler guys like raccoons are willing to take the heat for a little extra meat.

Other animals also follow their natural instincts, which may or may not work to their advantage. Those show offs with the antlers (deer and elk) will often wade into water and try and wait out a fire in the lake according to National Geographic, while other animals will attempt to burrow, hiding in logs or deep under ground. For some this can really seal their own fate. A crawler that finds its way into a downed tree doesn't understand that he just went ahead and hopped in the oven, but don't worry there's still hope; well, maybe not for him, but for the next crew to come through.

Certain species of bird actually prefer the post-wildfire environment and will move into an area shortly after the flames have cooled. Birds like woodpeckers wait until the heat dies down before flying in for a quick meal, collecting all of the creepy crawlers that couldn't make it out or chose poor hiding places. So don't worry about California, from a wildlife perspective these fires are increasing diversity and giving some new blood a chance at the old stomping grounds. Don't worry about Summit either though, few if any, of California's animals will make their way here.

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