THE devastating flames from the Sierra Bermeja wildfire have destroyed almost 10,000 hectares of food, water and shelter the wildlife in the area need to survive – an impact that may last for years.
Additionally, dozens of charred animal carcasses have been found in the aftermath of the fire.
Sierra Bermeja is an area of mountain livestock, especially goats and sheep, and many have perished in the flames, as reported by firefighter, Francisco Morales in a recent interview with Efe.
Other animals that would have suffered from the fire include all the wild fauna, such as; rabbits, deer, roe deer and wild boar.
In fact, according to Morales, the horrifying screeches of wild boars stuck in the undergrowth could be heard repeatedly during the days the firefighters battled against the deadly flames.
Morales has reflected on the feelings of ‘impotence’ and ‘sorrow’ that engulfed him and many of his colleagues during and after the five days battling to control a fire which claimed the life of one of his colleagues and razed through almost 10,000 hectares of forest.
In general, most animals can sense the danger wildfires pose, permitting many larger and quicker animals to run or fly away from the flames, or seek refuge in water to avoid injury, with smaller animals seeking shelter in logs, under rocks, or by hiding in their burrows.
Unfortunately, despite the instinct to flee, many animals aren’t quick enough and die in wildfires, typically the slower moving species or young animals.
Many of those unable to escape die of smoke inhalation, oxygen deprivation, or serious injuries.
Animals, including birds, trapped in wildfires, might also suffer from heat exhaustion and dehydration.