We often associate wildfires with destruction and devastation, but horrendous damages aside, what happens to all the animals that inhabit those forests? As it turns out, wildfires can do a lot of good for certain wild animals.
While it’s true and heartbreaking that some wild animals perish in wildfires, many other animals instinctively avoid the blaze by running away from it. Animals that can’t outrun the flames seek shelter underground or in nearby water sources. But not all animals run; others embrace the wildfires and take full advantage of them.
Opportunistic predators, for example, scavenge the burning grounds for fleeing prey; this behavior is particularly typical in raptors. Bugs and insects take advantage of the charred tree trunks to create nests and lay their eggs. Even black-backed woodpeckers enjoy a freshly-scorched tree, as it often houses insects that it can excavate and eat.
In many cases, natural wildfires are a natural cycle that can be beneficial to an ecosystem, but human intervention is changing these natural cycles and making wildfires more intense than ever before.
We still have a lot to learn about wildfires, but as it would seem, they’re not all bad.