Reports that more than a dozen wildfires are burning across Volusia County, including the Double Gate fire, which reignited this week, are a reminder that it is not just humans’ lives and homes that are threatened. Deer, bears, birds, fish, reptiles and other animals are killed or displaced by wildfires, too.
The impacts are also immediate, debilitating and often life-threatening: Thick smoke disorients them, irritates their eyes and makes breathing difficult. Larger animals may try to outrun the flames, while small animals may try to shelter under rocks and in burrows. Those with babies or who are trapped by fences or other structures may not escape.
We can help protect animals and their habitats by eliminating our role in igniting wildfires: Report unattended fires, extinguish campfires and fire pits, keep vehicles off dry grass, don’t throw lit or smoldering cigarettes from your car or truck and check the weather conditions before burning trash or leaves.
While most naturally occurring wildfires are sparked by lightning, thousands are triggered every year by fireworks.
The precaution we can take cannot be clearer.