Bear cub orphaned in Dixie Fire rescued after it is seen wandering alone by firefighters


A singed, lone bear cub was tranquilized and brought to a rehab center for burn treatment this morning after it was spotted by firefighters wandering all alone in the wake of the Dixie Fire. 

The male cub was first spotted by firefighters  near Taylorsville on Friday, according to California’s Department for Fish and Wildlife, and was monitored to ensure that it was truly on its own before it was captured.

The 20-pound, six-month-old black bear is being treated for burns to its paws, which Public Information Officer Peter Tira of the California DFW said is the most common injury to bears caught in wildfires. 

The bear was treated for first, second and third degree burns at the scene, and will receive continued care at Gold Country Wildlife in Auburn from Dr. Jamie Peyton.

Amid an increase in wildfires during the last several years, Tira said, a number of new treatments for burnt bears have been pioneered by the Wildlife Disaster Network. These include immersion therapy and treatment of burns to the paws with the skins of tilapia. 

 ‘We have quite a few bears suffering from burns,’ Tira told MailOnline on Monday.

‘Generally when you see them with a sow or a mother bear, they´ll stay with the mother bear and run off,’ said firefighter Johnnie Macy, deployed from Golden Colorado to combat the blaze, on Sunday. ‘This bear hasn´t done that, so because of that we think that the bear´s orphaned as a result of the fire.’

A wildlife rescue team, he said, is waiting to rescue the bear until they are certain that it is indeed orphaned. Macy called the situation 'heartbreaking,' but characterized it as 'Mother Nature taking its course.'

A wildlife rescue team, he said, is waiting to rescue the bear until they are certain that it is indeed orphaned. Macy called the situation ‘heartbreaking,’ but characterized it as ‘Mother Nature taking its course.’

The animal can be seen ambling and peering through brush coated in fire-retardant chemicals in the heartrending images captured near Taylorsville.

The animal can be seen ambling and peering through brush coated in fire-retardant chemicals in the heartrending images captured near Taylorsville.

 ‘Generally when you see them with a sow or a mother bear, they´ll stay with the mother bear and run off,’ said firefighter Johnnie Macy, deployed from Golden Colorado to combat the blaze, on Sunday. ‘This bear hasn´t done that, so because of that we think that the bear´s orphaned as a result of the fire.’ 

Macy called the situation ‘heartbreaking,’ but said that ‘obviously it’s mother nature taking its course.’

‘When we see things like this, we try to monitor it and make sure that the bear is orphaned then notify the appropriate authorities so they can take care of it.’

According to the National Forest Service, bear cubs are typically cared for by their mothers for two years before they begin to live on their own. 

Over 1,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed in the month-long Dixie Fire, which has consumed 578,897 acres as of 10pm on Sunday, according to the InciWeb tracker, which maps active forest fires throughout the United States and Canada. 

Thus far, no human fatalities have been reported during the Dixie Wildfire. But habitats of foxes, rabbits, deer, frogs, mice, coyotes and bears, have been devastated. However, Tira said, ‘this is not a good situation but it’s not the apocalypse for wildlife.’

 Currently, he said, California has its largest growing black bear population in history. 

‘Wildfire is a double edged sword,’ he said. ‘There are individual bears and animals that die and get burned, but fires can have some long term benefits for wildlife.’

The Pacific Gas & Electric utility company thinks the blaze may have ignited when a tree fell on one of its power lines on July 13 near the town of Paradise. 

It has since combined with the smaller Fly Fire, and rages through the norther Sierra Nevada and the southern Cascades.

Only 31 percent of the ensuing flames have been contained, according to InciWeb.

Over 1,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed in the month-long Dixie Fire, which has consumed 578,897 acres as of 10pm on Sunday, according to the InciWeb tracker, which maps active forest fires throughout the United States and Canada

Over 1,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed in the month-long Dixie Fire, which has consumed 578,897 acres as of 10pm on Sunday, according to the InciWeb tracker, which maps active forest fires throughout the United States and Canada

The month-long Dixie Fire has consumed 578,897 acres as of approximately 10pm on Sunday

The month-long Dixie Fire has consumed 578,897 acres as of approximately 10pm on Sunday

Over 1,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed thus far, with over 15,000 structures currently threatened

 Over 1,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed thus far, with over 15,000 structures currently threatened

Critical fire weather throughout the region threatens to spread the multiple wildfires further through Northern California

Critical fire weather throughout the region threatens to spread the multiple wildfires further through Northern California

Last week, the U.S. Forest Service said that it has deployed over 25,000 firefighters to blazes throughout the country

 Last week, the U.S. Forest Service said that it has deployed over 25,000 firefighters to blazes throughout the country

The Pacific Gas & Electric utility company thinks the blaze may have ignited when a tree fell on one of its power lines on July 13 near the town of Paradise

 The Pacific Gas & Electric utility company thinks the blaze may have ignited when a tree fell on one of its power lines on July 13 near the town of Paradise

An inconceivable number of foxes, rabbits, deer, frogs, mice, coyotes and bears, whose deaths and injuries go unreported, have lost their habitats in the Dixie Fire

An inconceivable number of foxes, rabbits, deer, frogs, mice, coyotes and bears, whose deaths and injuries go unreported, have lost their habitats in the Dixie Fire

Now, 15,000 structures are still threatened by the disaster. 

‘Some animals do die in the flames of wildfires, mostly the elderly and very young animals who can’t escape,’ said the National Forest Foundation.

‘However, the majority of wildlife mortalities come after the fire is out, due to the loss of important habitat and food sources burned in the fire.’ 

'Some animals do die in the flames of wildfires, mostly the elderly and very young animals who can¿t escape,' said the National Forest Foundation

 ‘Some animals do die in the flames of wildfires, mostly the elderly and very young animals who can’t escape,’ said the National Forest Foundation

Peyton treated another black bear, who had been caught in the nearby Antelope Fire, for similar injuries to its paws two days ago. 

‘He must still stay in a hospital enclosure until his burns are completely healed, but he is climbing and eating and running away from us,’ wrote Gold Country Wildlife on its Facebook page. 

The four-month-old, 16-pound bear was discovered hugging the base of a tree tightly in the Antelope Creek area on August 9 by Resource Advisor and Wildlife Biologist Sarah Bullock, who determine that it had likely been orphaned. 

In 1950, the iconic character ‘Smokey the Bear’ was inspired by a now-famous orphaned bear cub who was rescued from a New Mexico wildfire, coincidentally also on August 9 of that year.

After the rescue captured hearts and headlines, the U.S. Forest Service and Ad Council agreed that a fictional bear would spearhead their fire prevention campaign, started in 1944.

Earlier this month, another California cub with burns on its snout and paws was rescued from an eastern Siskiyou County fire. 

Also in August, another injured, orphaned cub dug its way out of a Lake Tahoe Wildfire care center where he was being treated – he has since been seen surviving in the wild.

The U.S. National Weather Service has predicted weather that could continue to feed the blaze through this Thursday, anticipating winds over 35 mph. 

The U.S. National Weather Service has predicted weather that could continue to feed the blaze through this Thursday, anticipating winds over 35 mph.

The U.S. National Weather Service has predicted weather that could continue to feed the blaze through this Thursday, anticipating winds over 35 mph.

Pacific Gas & Electric has warned 48,000 customers in 18 counties that their power may be cut off in an attempt to prevent further electrical fires amidst the agency's fire weather warning.

Pacific Gas & Electric has warned 48,000 customers in 18 counties that their power may be cut off in an attempt to prevent further electrical fires amidst the agency’s fire weather warning.

Pacific Gas & Electric has warned 48,000 customers in 18 counties that their power may be cut off in an attempt to prevent further electrical fires amidst the agency’s fire weather warning. 

Today, 18,000 residents of Susanville have been urged by their police department to ‘be alert and be ready to evacuate.’ It is the largest city that the fire has threatened, and is the county seat of Lassen County. 

The former Sierra Nevada mining town has a casino, two state prisons and a nearby federal lock up. 

Nearby, residents of nearby Janesville were evacuated on Monday. Bulldozers have cut fire lines in the Northward-reaching blaze, but fire spokesman David Janssen said that ‘a lot of [their] lines are getting tested now.’ 

The small town of Westwood is still under evacuation orders as of Monday, and firefighters’ protective lines were holding, representatives said, but remained under threat.

 ‘There are still some people staying in there,’ Janssen said. ‘We´re hoping it won´t turn bad in there and we have to change our mission from protecting structures to saving lives … Our biggest concern right now is that people aren´t taking the evacuation seriously.’

Currently, there are over 100 wildfires actively burning throughout the country, with two dozen in Montana and nearly 50 more in Idaho, Washington and Oregon, according to the National Fire Interagency Center.

Last week, the U.S. Forest Service said that it has deployed over 25,000 firefighters to blazes throughout the country.  



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