Washington Wildfires Displace Deer

Aug 15, 2014

Wildfires have ravaged more than 1 million acres across the Northwest. In central Washington, the burned landscape will make it difficult for one of the state’s largest deer herds to find food. Farmers worry the deer would then wander onto their fields. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt reports.

Wildfires will leave one of the Washington's largest deer herds without a place to go this winter.
Credit Alan Vernon / Flickr

In the winter, deer like to eat bitterbrush and chokecherry. But those shrubs will be hard for deer to find this year in central Washington.

State wildlife biologist Scott Fitkin says the Carlton Complex Fire will affect feeding habitat for up to 10,000 deer. That means many fawns and some adult deer could starve this winter.

Fitkin: “We’re going to have deer looking for forage wherever they can find it, and so we’re anticipating an increase in the number of nuisance or damage complaints from deer in orchards or other agricultural fields.”

Wildlife managers are going to issue more hunting permits and temporarily feed deer to help draw them away from crops.

Fitkin says the problem could go on years to come.

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