The largest fire in Washington state history affected more than just the forest over the summer, as wild animals also faced repercussions.
The Carlton Complex Fire was ignited by lightning strikes in Meathow Valley during mid-July. Hot and windy weather conditions helped to spread the fire rapidly, which caused a number of evacuations throughout the area.
One animal, Cinder, is a two-year-old bear cub that was rescued after suffering from third-degree burns on all four of her paws.
Cinder was taken to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care in California after she was found crawling around on her elbows and knees in a residential area in Washington. Cheryl Millham, executive director of the care center, said that if Cinder was not rescued when she was, she would have died.
"Cinder came in at 39 pounds, so they thought she was a first-year cub. But we knew she was a second-year cub based on her muzzle. Now she's back to 80 pounds, which is where a second-year cub should be," Millham said.
Cinder is doing well, Millham said, and her release date will be set once she "shows the vet that she is ready to go back to Washington."
Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care typically sees a surge of wildlife that need care during May, June, July and August because that is the normal time frame for most wild animal births. That being said, they have not received a large number of animals that were affected by recent fires.
"We do not get many birds or other animals from fires because people can't go looking for animals until fires are totally put out," Millham said. Cinder was the only cub to come from Washington.
The facility is currently caring for 11 injured cubs. Millham believes most of these cubs are injured because of the dry weather and drought in the area.
"Mother bears will go off searching for water and get hit by cars and never return to their cubs," Millham said. "It costs us about $1,400 every week to feed all of these cubs."