What happens to animals during wildfires?

Wildfires wreak havoc not only on humans but also on animals, leading many to wonder what happens to animals when a fire breaks out.

Animals have an easier time escaping to safety if they live in an area that regularly experiences wildfires, according to AccuWeather. Birds fly and mammals run from the fire, while amphibians and other small creatures can crawl to safety or burrow into the ground until the danger passes. Larger animals like elk often take refuge in streams or lakes. Slower animals are at a higher risk of dying in wildfires, as are younger animals and those who cannot find shelter as easily.

Some animals even thrive during wildfires. While hunting can be more difficult, predators like bears and raccoons will prey on other animals fleeing the fires.

A wildfire can also change what plants, microbes and fungi recolonize the burn area depending on the size of the fire and the species that originally lived in the area.

SEE ALSO: Red flag warning: What to do during dangerous fire conditions
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A red flag warning indicates that temperatures, humidity levels, fuel moisture levels and wind speeds have formed favorable conditions for fires to rapidly spread.

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