You just never know what will happen while you are out tracking fishers.
Yesterday while returning from tracking female 20058 (she lives in between Mill and Deer creeks) we noticed a black plume of smoke. Initially, I wanted to think it was just a large cloud hanging low on the horizon, but since I hadn’t seen a cloud all day I knew this was not true. Sure enough it was a small fire that was burning just north of Deer creek not far from HWY 32.
Well, it is seemed small, and relatively speaking it was, but it sure put out a lot of smoke. The wind picked up from time to time and really caused some large flare-ups. I’m unsure how much time passed from when the fire started until we saw it but it couldn’t have been more than 1o minutes. Within 20 minutes after seeing the smoke personnel from the Forest Service and Cal Fire were responding to the fire. Within an hour helicopters and airplanes were tending to the blaze. I was really amazed, and impressed,with the response times of the folks that were fighting the blaze.
Fortunately, this fire, which appears largely contained this morning, was not particularly close to any of the fishers were are currently tracking particularly those that have kits. Though there are very likely other fishers in this area that we are not tracking. Still, it serves as a reminder that fires are very real dangers to fishers in general, but also to the translocation. One particularly severe fire might have very dire consequences for this incipient population.