A field was set ablaze after a utility pole broke, sending high voltage wires to the ground below. The resulting arc caused four deer to be electrocuted while grazing in the field.
According to KHQA, fire crews and the sheriff’s office responded to a field fire in Lewis County, Missouri 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning near Highway 156 off of 154th Avenue.
Lewis County Sheriff, David Parrish, told the news station that upon arrival, they discovered a utility pole in the middle of the field had broke. There were no human injuries, but unfortunately, the first responders encountered four electrocuted deer.
Deer being electrocuted may seem like a rare occurrence, but a similar incident happened in February 2016. Back then, six deer in a field near Gaylord, Kansas were electrocuted. A power line fell in the field they were feeding in as well.
Yet another incident involving electrocuted deer took place in April 2016. Six deer were found dead in White Clay Creek State Park. The park is located along the Pennsylvania-Delaware line. In this case, the cause was not as obvious.
The deceased deer were originally believed to be poisoned, according to John Chambless of the Chester County Press. The Pennsylvania Game Commission launched an investigation into what killed the deer. In the end, game wardens concluded a downed power line was to blame.
High voltage lines pose a threat to wildlife because they obviously have no fear of a downed wire. The wires also have no insulation.
Voltage can travel freely through the air, due to the electrical field produced by overhead wires. To prevent employees from being shocked, most power companies require their workers to keep 10 to 25 feet away from high voltage wires. That is why when a wire falls in a field, it does not have to make direct contact with a deer to be fatal.
By the numbers, it is still rare to find electrocuted deer. Traffic is much more dangerous to deer than electricity. In 2015, automobile accidents accounted for 1.5 million deer fatalities.