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Tohono O'odham Nation shares wildlife concerns due to Contreras Fire

Offers wildlife-safety tips
Posted at 10:53 AM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 14:50:04-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Tohono O'odham Nation is reminding the public of the impacts wildfires have on wildlife.

What do wildfires mean for wildlife?

The tribe is is pointing out local wildlife doesn't necessarily need our help dealing with wildfires.

"Wild animals have developed strategies to fly, run or bury themselves to escape from fires, the change in habitat and food resource will drive them to find safety," shared the Nation.

What does this mean for the Contreras Fire?

According to Tohono O'odham peoples, the community directly next to active flames may see an increase in wildlife activity.

This is due to the animals searching for safety and food alternatives.

Drivers traveling on Highway 86 between mileposts 140 and 126 may also see an increase.

How can you help?

The Tohono O'odham Nation recommends the following ways to help:

  • Do not feed the animals
    • This can create a dependence on humans for food security
  • Let the animals rest
    • Don't scare or shoo them away. Let them be as they temporarily seek refuge from flames
  • Keep pets safe
    • Leash them close to you, or don't let them outside at all
  • Drive more cautiously
    • Animal crossing tend to increase near active fire sites

If you find an injured wildlife animal, please contact the Tohono O'odham Nation Wildlife and Vegetation Office at (520) 383-1513.

RELATED: Kitt Peak evacuated due to Contreras Fire burning in Baboquivari Mountains

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Caleb Fernández is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. After earning his bachelor's degree from Penn State in Advertising/Public Relations, Caleb went to New York where he learned production assistance, photography and art direction. Share your story ideas and important issues with Caleb by emailing caleb.fernandez@kgun9.com or by connecting on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.