By: Adrian Jacobs
With the effects of climate change increasing, California continues to experience wildfires day in and day out. With hills burning by the acre, these flames have enormous consequences for the wildlife living in the charred ecosystems.
First off, the key necessities of water, food, and shelter are scarce for the animals. The wildfires are destroying trees, bushes, grass, plants, shrubs, etc; everything animals need to survive. When ecosystems are depleted of these natural resources, mudslides and erosion occur more, as there are no roots to prevent rainfall from stopping, showing the terrible chain of events that come with wildfires.
In a paper written by Yvonne Barkley, a forester from the University of Idaho, Barkley explains the significance of the issue clearly. “Tender understory plants and shrubs that provide food are lost, and this loss often results in wildlife moving away to areas where food, water, and shelter are more readily available.” Barkley indicates how wildlife is left in vain ecosystems when climate change hits. He specifies their intention of escaping to more stable ecosystems, except this is near impossible when the fires are all across California. They try to run, but to where? Their homes vanish with every fire.
Furthermore, the smoke created by these fires are inescapable for wildlife. While humans have vehicles and access areas with cleaner air quality, animals do not. Instead, they run around in a panic, wondering why the air is unbreathable.
Without vehicles or any sort of shelter, animals can also be injured by the flames. For example, A young bear cub “was trekking along a mountain road through the scorched Sierra Nevada when firefighters spotted it. His paws appeared burned and he seemed alone. There was little the fire crew could do, but call the Wildlife Disaster Network.” The help of these non-profit organizations is the only thing standing in the way of the bears and death. An image of the exact cub is attached below.
In the end, action must be taken to help reduce O2 emissions and climate change, or else fires will only get worse across California. In addition, wildlife will decrease and our ecosystems will disappear, leaving every creature on earth devastated.