Beavers Reportedly Are To Blame for Oregon Wildfires

by Lauren Boisvert

It’s an undeniable fact that beavers do a lot of good for the environment. They help develop and protect the wetlands by building dams, which provide habitats for plants and animal species. They also improve water quality and help control flooding.

But, there’s always that one guy who ruins it for the rest of them. Recently, a beaver in Oregon was responsible for a two-acre wildfire near Multnomah Falls. After officials put out the fire, it was determined that the fire started due to felled power lines. This was caused by a tree that was chewed up at the base in typical beaver fashion.

Corbett, Oregon assistant fire chief Rick Wunsch told Oregon Live that “he must have got out of there real quick,” in reference to the beaver culprit.

What Parks Are Doing to Prepare for Fires?

While officials contained the Oregon fire rather quickly and it threatened no structures or residents, California is preparing for something a little more intense.

In Sequoia National Park, fire crews are wrapping the giant sequoia trees in huge sheets of industrial-grade aluminum foil. They are doing this in preparation for the Colony Fire from the North and Paradise Fire from the South. Both fires are closing in on the Giant Forest, home of the ancient sequoias.

Famous trees like General Sherman, the oldest living single-stemmed tree, are at risk from the encroaching wildfires. Officials are doing everything they can to prevent history from being completely burned up.

What’s Causing the Wildfires?

These wildfires come on the backs of the Dixie Fire in July and the Caldor Fire in mid-August. The Dixie Fire roared across the state, burning nearly 1 million acres and 1,000 structures. The Caldor Fire burned 200,000 acres and 920 structures. The Caldor Fire moved towards the Lake Tahoe Basin over Labor Day weekend. This displaced residents and tourists and shut down the area.

So, what’s causing these fires? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, California’s dry thunderstorms and droughts directly attribute to the wildfire outbreak. Over the weekend of September 10, nearly 1,100 lightning strikes his the San Francisco area. That, coupled with the drought and record temperatures, caused several small fires to break out.

Lightning strikes were also the cause of the KNP complex fires; a complex being two or more separate fires that have the potential to merge. By September 16, the KNP complex had burned 8,940 acres of land, headed towards the Sequoia National Park. Both the KNP complex and the Windy fire have deposited huge smoke plumes. This greatly affects the air quality in those regions of California.

Because of these fires–KNP complex, Windy, Paradise, and Colony–Sequoia National Park has closed, as have the wilderness areas of Kings Canyon National Park. Officials have evacuated the Three Rivers community outside of the park as well.