BEATTY, Ore. -- The Bootleg Fire, the largest wildfire in the U.S. and almost the third largest in Oregon state history since 1900, has torched hundreds of thousands of acres in Klamath and Lake Counties along with dozens of people's homes.
However, not all the homes destroyed belong to people. Over the weekend, safety officer Bryan Daniels discovered a young bear cub all by itself on the southeastern flank of the Bootleg Fire on 28 road. Daniels was scouting for hazards and stopped his vehicle when he saw the bear on the road. When he stopped, the bear cub ran several feet up a nearby tree.
As more fire personnel moved into the area, the cub made its way down the tree trunk and stayed close to the road while firefighters were there working. They left water for the cub, but it wasn't interested.
Fire managers say that the mother bear was spotted just before the bear cub was discovered. Fire officials add, "it is likely that it reunited with its mother." and "it's very good news that the animal is not an orphan."
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife warn that many animals that appear alone often aren't so "please don't pick them up."
Fire managers add, " Not all wildlife perish when a fire moves through the area. While fire can reduce important habitat and food sources, it can also create new habitat and opportunities for some species." and "this bear servers as a reminder that there are wildlife on roads in the fire area. As the public drives on area roads that are open, please use caution. A lot of slow, heavy firefighting equipment are on the roads and smoky conditions persist. Also, you may encounter wildlife such as this young cub."
With Smokey Bear's birthday coming up on August 9th, fire officials say "the best way to celebrate is to remember that one less spark means one less wildfire that can impact wildlife like this cub."