Well, another fire means yet another post about fire. If you are getting tired of hearing about fire I’m sorry. I can assure you that I’m not all that excited about writing about it, but it is something that takes up a fair amount of our attention.
The Chips fire continues to grow but fortunately (for fishers we know about at least) the fires is mostly moving east. I have included a similar map to the one from my last post showing the change in the fire boundary from last time. For many days now we have choked on the smoke that this fire produces while out trying to collect data on fishers. Working in it is not all that fun, and could pose a health risk, but so far we are dealing with it okay.
The newest fire (smaller but on the related map) started just a few days ago and is known as the Mill fire. It is located in Mill creek on the northern edge of the study site. Currently, the fires is about 1200 acres and about 20% contained. This fire is a bit closer (~1.5 miles) to one of our females that denned this last year (the black crosses on the map). As with the Chips fire it seems to be moving east and away from this female, but as always things can change. Unfortunately, the relative proximity of the fire and the number of fire personnel means we are essentially not tracking this female right now. Though it is interesting and important to know how she responds to the fire we must also take the safety of the crew into account first. Additionally, we would be a nuisance to the fire crews that are fighting the fire and using the same roads that we use. In sum, the fires are affecting our work, thoughtnot shutting us down .
This past winters’ relatively low precipitation levels have made conditions much drier this summer compared to our past two summers. It was clear that fire would be even more of danger this year than in years past. Fortunately (for now), the fires are more nuisance than particularly devastating to the animals we track. With luck, that will remain the case and we will escape any further fires for the rest of the year.