How The Table Rock Fire Could Affect Wildlife

Jul 7, 2016

The burned area includes winter migration grounds for deer, elk and pronghorn.
Credit Krista Muller / Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Last week’s Table Rock fire burned about 2,500 acres in Boise’s foothills. Although the fire only destroyed one human home, animals that live there will likely go elsewhere until the landscape can be restored.

Idaho Fish and Game wildlife biologist Krista Muller says Table Rock will not bounce back in just a couple of years.

“The habitat is only so resilient to that," says Muller. "And in order to bring the habitat back to the point where wildlife can utilize it and people can enjoy it again – it takes a lot of effort.”

Muller says the damaged sagebrush ecosystem could take decades to go back to the way it was. The fire burned winter grazing areas used by deer, elk and pronghorn. She says foxes, hawks and song birds also live there – and may now be displaced.

“My main concern is where are those animals going to go when they come down here for their winter migration starting in October and they get to the area that burned. They’re going to be moving other places.”

Muller says reseeding of the burned area will begin in the fall, and volunteers will be needed.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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