Wildfires Bring Devastation and Renewal


In 2020 alone, four million acres of land burned in California. Fires destroy millions of homes, buildings, and environments each year. California’s diverse ecosystem contains over 4,000 different species of animals, fish, and amphibians. California has 6,500 plants, many of these being unable to be found anywhere else in the world. In the United States, California has one of the most diverse ecosystems. Because of the diversity of California’s ecosystem, the same wildfires that destroy homes and infrastructures  also make it possible for new and healthier plants to grow and allow many animals to thrive.


Wildlife has a long-standing relationship with fire,” ecosystem ecologist Mazeika Sullivan of the Ohio State University said in a 2014 interview with national geographic, “Fire is a national part of this landscape.” Some species even require fire to flourish and reproduce. Animals such as deer and birds need fire to eat and build shelter. When land burns, new nutrition returns and allows for other plants to grow. Unfortunately, some animals perish because of the fires. The exact number is unknown, but carcasses of these animals provide food for other animals and losing animals’ lives help to thin out overgrown populations. 


Heat from fires plant seeds by ballooning the seeds coating, causing it to crack and let water and oxygen in. According to “NPS.gov”, this helps the seed remove its external coating, making it easier for the seed to root itself. environment.nsw.govstates that fire will encourage new growth and provide food for animals . Large mammals such as bears and buffalo use burnt areas to feed on roots and dry seeds, while birds such as woodpeckers search for insects in dead trees. Fires give animals’ food by producing dead carcasses that died during the fires for animals such as bears and vultures. Fires can provide shelter by making new habitats from burnt ecosystems that were affected by the fires. 


Fires can clear overgrown land and create new environments, and make room for new trees and plants to grow. California fires produce shelter in a variety of ways for the animals. New habitats are created by the burning of overgrown land. Overgrown land is tough for many animals when the roots become overgrown and prevent small animals from burrowing. Overgrown land can lead to tragedy or loss when fires break out and animals become trapped by the vegetation. The upside is the land is cleared for new trees and vegetation to grow. Younger and healthier trees create new habitats for a variety of species, from birds to insects and small mammals such as raccoons. Shelter is created by providing dry sticks and pinecones nests. less dense roots for burrows and dens for bears and other large animals create collapsing rock, loose dirt and fallen trees. 


Although fires can be tragic, they can lead to beauty and help our ecosystem. Overgrown land becomes a new grassy landscape. Dead trees allow for new trees to grow. Animals create new homes and find better food sources. With all the negatives of wildfires, there are beautiful consequences that come from them too.