Fires leave wildlife with injuries, burns, scorched habitat

Published: Jun. 21, 2011 at 1:23 AM MST|Updated: Jul. 1, 2011 at 6:50 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) – Arizona wildfires are not only displacing people, wildlife is also losing their precious habitat. Tucson's Game and Fish say it's too earlier to assess the true impact on wildlife right now.

But Tucson Wildlife Center, an animal rehabilitation facility is currently taking care of 6 native animals affected by the horseshoe Two Fire and the Monument Fire in Sierra Vista.

A golden eagle arrived over the weekend from the Monument Fire, caregiver LouRae Whitehead says with a broken leg the golden eagle didn't stand a chance.

"There is a lot of commotion out there. They think it got hit by a car, by someone who was evacuating," she says.

It will take weeks for the eagles' injuries to heal but even longer for his home to recover.

Mark Hart from Tucson's Game and fish says animals and plants tend to replenish after a wildfire but only if the burn is low to moderate.

"If it's severely burned it will be devastating for some very unique wildlife habitats. We won't know until we take a look around," he says.

But signs of life in the Wallow Fire are already starting to show. Its en encouraging sight says Hart.

"What our folks observed were elk back into the meadow right back to the area," he says.

He adds that wildfires can be good for a habitat in the long run because it clears brush and hiding places used by predators. One thing is for sure he says, those habitats will never be the same after these fires.

There is a big concerned right now for the bears in the Huachuca Mountains near the Monument Fire. They could start showing up closer to populated areas. Arizona Game and Fish say you should never feed the bears.  The best thing do if you encounter any distressed animal is to give Arizona Game and Fish a call right away.

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