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Wildfire and wild animals

Resist the urge to feed animals in your yard
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Posted at 9:07 PM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-13 00:07:56-04

Oro Valley, Ariz. - Even more than with human homes, the Bighorn Fire has the potential to disrupt animal homes, and maybe bring animals to your yard.

But fires are a part of the natural world and animals may cope with them better than we do.

In Oro Valley, helicopters hit the fire hard, with one water drop after another. The Bighorn Fire was caused by lightning and it shows the power of nature on a large scale. It also shows how animals are getting out of the way.

A few days ago, wildlife cameras caught a bear away from the usual spots higher in the mountains.

A KGUN9 viewer caught raccoon's visiting his yard and catching a drink from his swimming pool.

Mark Hart of Arizona Game and Fish says you can’t automatically assume the fire drove animals to your yard but it can change animal behavior.

The Bighorn Fire is in the heart of the area where Game and Fish released Bighorn Sheep. Hart says in past fires they’ve shown they know how to stay clear of the danger.

“During the Finger Rock fire a few years back our radio collar data showed them well above the Fire and almost stationary as if they were watching it; and in the case of the Buster Mountain Fire as soon as the fire got through the area they moved right in to start eating the green shoots that were coming up. It’s great forage for Bighorn Sheep. It’s a Bighorn Sheep salad bar.

Hart says some smaller animals will take shelter underground and just wait in their burrows until the fire passes.

We have seen people say they want to help the animals and feed them. As kind as that may seem, feeding animals is illegal. If you feed small animals, big, dangerous animals may show up in your yard ready to eat them and maybe endanger you.

Hart says it's okay to leave a small amount of water in a very small container like a pie plate. If you leave a large amount of water you may be attracting large, dangerous animals.