A burned black bear cub receives care at PAWS. (PAWS)

A burned black bear cub receives care at PAWS. (PAWS)

These burned bear cubs are among the casualties of wildfires

In a first, PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood is caring for three severely burned young black bears.

LYNNWOOD — Firefighters saw the 7-month-old black bear cub on July 27, thin and obviously burned, with no mother in sight, about 40 yards off Highway 20 near Mazama and the Cedar Creek Fire.

In August, property owners on the south shore of Lake Chelan, near the Twenty-Five Mile Fire, saw two more injured cubs, one with paws so burned she was walking on her elbows and knees. One of those cubs’ siblings was found a few days later.

The four cubs were brought to PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood, where veterinarians cleaned their wounds, applied ointment and bandaged them up. Three of the bears were trending up, said Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen, a PAWS veterinarian. If all goes well, they’ll be released back into the wild next spring. Their chances for survival then should be high.

One of the bears had to be euthanized due to the extent of its injuries, Rosenhagen said.

The burned cubs are a new sight at PAWS Wildlife Center, the largest bear rehabilitation facility in the state.

“The number of severely burned bears coming to PAWS is not something I’ve seen in my 25 years at PAWS,” said PAWS Wildlife Director Jennifer Convy at a news conference Tuesday. PAWS has cared for bears since 1987, seeing an average of six a year.

Wildlife workers rescue a burned black bear cub found at the Cedar Creek Fire in Mazama. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

Wildlife workers rescue a burned black bear cub found at the Cedar Creek Fire in Mazama. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

The cubs were lucky in the sense they were big enough to be spotted. Convy said many more animals die unseen in the fires — “thousands and thousands and thousands,” she guessed. Those that escape would return home to a charred landscape. They would have to find suitable habitat elsewhere.

These cubs put another face on the catastrophic wildfires that are becoming more and more common, state Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said while visiting PAWS. She said this season is proving to be one of the worst yet. So far this year the state has seen more than 1,700 fires, with 620,000 acres burned. Firefighters haven’t had a break since July 1, she said.

Franz expected burn bans to be in effect through September, at least, as drought persists in many parts of the state.

A black bear cub burned in the Twentyfive Mile Fire in Chelan recovers from anesthesia while being cared for at PAWS. (PAWS)

A black bear cub burned in the Twentyfive Mile Fire in Chelan recovers from anesthesia while being cared for at PAWS. (PAWS)

She had at least one reason to be happy, though, at Tuesday’s news conference: It was sprinkling.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am to wake up to gray skies and rain,” she said. “We have needed this. It is giving some respite to communities and, most importantly, our firefighters.”

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

Want to help?

If you see any wildlife that might need help, you can call and consult with PAWS Wildlife Center at 425-412-4040. For more information about donating to or volunteering with PAWS, visit paws.org.

Environmental Reporting Fund

If you’d like to see more stories like this, donate to The Daily Herald’s Environmental and Climate Change Reporting Fund in partnership with Journalism Funding Partners. Go to heraldnet.com/climatedonate.


Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Everett man dies after being hit by car in Island County

Jacob Weigert was running across State Route 20 toward a bus stop when he was hit Wednesday morning.

Lynnwood police shoot at man during pursuit

The man is wanted on multiple warrants, including one for attempted murder, according to police. No one was hurt.

The “Village of Hope,” a tiny home community including 17 shelters, is set to open on Mission Hill Road in Tulalip in September. (Tulalip Tribes)
Tulalip Tribes to open tiny home village with 17 shelters

It’s called the Village of Hope. Monthly culture nights will feature classes in Lushootseed and “Tulalip cooking.”

Man shot at Everett apartment

The man in his 30s was shot Sunday night. No arrests had been made.

Arlington Public Works employees use The Big Sidewalk Sucker to lift a concrete panel from the sidewalk. The device saves the city some money and time to level ground below the concrete. (Arlington Public Works)
This thing sucks and helps repair sidewalks in Arlington

Public works crews can remove heavy concrete panels from sidewalks, so the ground underneath can be restored.

United Way of Snohomish County CEO Craig Chambers at their headquarters on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New CEO expected to reinvigorate United Way of Snohomish County

The nonprofit lost staff and funding during the pandemic. Craig Chambers wants to turn things around.

New LGI Homes on Thursday, May 12, 2022 in Sultan, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Red-hot housing market cools, a bit, in Snohomish County

The amount of housing inventory is rising. Demand is slowing. Higher mortgage rates are a cause.

John McKeon stands in front of a mobile headquarters vehicle while discussing the funding needs of Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at the search and rescue headquarters in Snohomish, Washington. McKeon said a priority for the group is to find money for new covered parking for a number of vehicles that do not have a garage to be parked in. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue wants rescuing

They’re asking for nearly $1 million in federal recovery dollars, but funding has been hard to come by.

Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
How to answer Snohomish County’s basic crime questions? ‘Transparent data’

An initiative funded in part by Microsoft could reveal racial disparities, while creating an “apples to apples” database.

Most Read