Wild vs. wildfires

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Miranda Ehrichs

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The recent wildfire that broke out in San Bernardino, California caused havoc not only in human lives, but animal lives as well.


The disastrous fire burned 60 square miles, causing 80,000 to flee their homes; however, this does not include the primary residents harmed by the fire, the wildlife inhabitants.


When a wildfire erupts, most animals do not wait until they see flames to flee. Larger animals are at an advantage when it comes to escaping, but insects and smaller vertebrates are left behind and exposed to dangers.


“The most risked animals are the ones that are smaller and can’t run away. The largest ones are at an advantage.” said AP Environmental Science teacher, Theresa Hagan.


Instincts of  most smaller animals are to are to seek shelter underground when endangered. However, wildfires result in extreme rising temperatures underneath logs and soil. Such conditions, along with the wildfire, result in deadly dangers.


The residents of San Bernardino, California have since been allowed to return home. As these residents struggled with the loss of their homes, inhabitants of the wild struggled as well.


Birds no longer have their nests, squirrels no longer have trees to play on, and deer no longer have a home to roam.


However, with the bad, there is always the good. Though wildfires cause damage and danger in lives of forest inhabitants, a wildfire can mean new opportunities and beginnings.


“The good after a wildfire for an ecosystem [is that it] allows for new growth opportunities.” said Hagan.


Once a fire is controlled, the ash left behind is rich in nutrients. When mixed with water, this allows for an ecosystem to gain a fresh start and begin rebuilding itself.


“Say if the area was overpopulated, after the fire, the growth allows for a healthier population to grow with increased resources” explained Hagan.


Wildfires, such as the one in San Bernardino, California, not only endanger humans, but the wildlife inhabitants of the area as well. Thus, leaving them vulnerable and exposed. However, these violent acts of Mother Nature allow for new opportunities and fresh growth.
“Wildfires are supposed to occur; they are natural and allow for new growth and a healthy ecosystem.” Said Hagan.

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