bear injured in fire
Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Bear Injured in Fire Rescued By Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officials

Wildlife officials showed up in the nick of time to save this yearling bear.

On June 16, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials rescued a young, male bear that had suffered severe burns on its feet during the East Canyon fire.

According to a press release from CPW, the animal is still under observation at their Del Norte facility, but is expected to make a full recovery.

"We always hate to see injured animals, but we're pleased we were able to rescue this bear so we can nurse it back to health and return it to the wild," said Matt Thorpe, area wildlife manager in Durango.

Per the report, the CPW Durango office received a call from the local fire dispatch center after firefighters noticed an injured bear walking near a pond east of the fire.

Thorpe, as well as fellow wildlife officers Steve McClung and Andy Brown drove to the scene moments after getting call.

When they arrived at 5:40 p.m., they noticed the bear wasn't moving.

"You could tell it was really hurting," McClung said.

The officers were then able to sedate the bear with a tranquilizer dart and get a closer look. Upon further investigation, they saw serious burns on its feet, so they used a trap to transport it to the Frisco Creek wildlife rehabilitation facility.

"Across the road from where we found it, the area was burned heavily," McClung said. "There was little spot fires and some stumps burning. We can't say exactly what happened, but it probably got caught and had to move across some hot spots."

Veterinarians predicted the 43-pound bear was born in the winter of 2019, meaning it was still too young to be on its own. However, there was no mother bear to be found, and the yearling was particularly thin.

bear injured in fire

Fortunately, though, the burns shouldn't cause any permanent injuries.

"The prognosis is good and the underlying tissue is healthy," said Michael Sirochman, veterinary manager at Frisco Creek. "We cut off the burned tissue that was sloughing off and we put on bandages."

To speed up the healing process, the bear is staying in a cage with concrete floors for likely the next eight weeks. CPW expects a full recovery and will relocate the bear to the same area they found it.