2020 has been one of the most active wildfire seasons in our state’s history, with over 600,000 acres burned. Previously in our blog we’ve looked at wildfire and domestic animals, but you may be wondering how our state’s wildlife species have fared this fire season. Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) has just released a new episode in their Colorado Outdoors podcast series that explores that very question. In Wildfire Impacts on Wildlife, CPW biologists discuss not only the fires’ effects on forest animals, but also on aquatic species, who can be affected by ash and debris that falls into the water.
The good news, says the biologists, is that species have adapted over time to prepare for and react to wildfires. “Fires are natural and they’ve evolved with fire,” developing the necessary survival skills over time. However, fires still result in many casualties, especially in rapidly moving fires like the East Troublesome, the podcast explains. In the aftermath of the fire, CPW scientists and wildlife managers go in and assess the impact. What are some of the things they look for? How do the scientists track animal behavior in relation to the fires? And what are some of the lessons learned for the future? Check out the podcast to find out more.
In addition, CPW has also prepared a new video that looks at how the agency used radio collars to track elk movement around the Cameron Peak Fire.
Although the onset of snow and cold weather has diminished the fires, many wildlife areas still remain closed. Check CPW’s website for current information on road closures and access restrictions.