Biologists: In the Wake of Wildfires, Wood River Residents Can Expect to See More Bears, Insects


Wildlife officials are cautiously optimistic that many of the region's big-game animals will survive the massive wildfires that have blanketed the Wood River Valley.

"I don't suspect that big-game-wise we've lost a lot of critters," Randy Smith, wildlife biologist with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game told the Idaho Mountain Express, adding that many of the big-game animals ought to outrun the Beaver Creek Fire. "We'll see where the fire has pushed them."

Smith added that some elk and deer had been previously fitted with radio transmitters, and once the wildfire has subsided, IDFG officials will fly over the area to monitor the migration.

Smith told the Mountain Express that the nearby Elk Complex Fire probably caused more havoc to wildlife, killing several dozen deer and elk, and at least one bear.

He added that that damage from the Beaver Creek Fire, burning up usual fall foods for bears, could result in more black bears showing up in residential areas this fall and winter.

And residents should expect so see a lot more bugs.

"You'll see a huge increase in the insect population," Regional Wildlife Biologist Ross Winton told the Mountain Express, saying wasps and beetles lay their eggs in recently burned stumps.