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Emaciated bear cub may have lost mom to Dixie Fire in Northern California

Western Wildfires
Posted at 12:48 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 12:50:56-04

QUINCY, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters are keeping an eye on a lone, emaciated bear cub that may have lost its mother to the country’s largest wildfire burning in Northern California.

The pointy-eared cub has been seen rambling solo along a mountain road burned by the Dixie Fire near Taylorsville.

The cub has been spotted peering through brush and leaping through plants covered in fire retardant chemicals.

Firefighter Johnnie Macy told The Associated Press that crews have been monitoring the cub for several days to determine if it is an orphan.

Macy said he thinks the cub has been orphaned as a result of the fire because young bears typically stay with their mothers. He called the situation “heartbreaking,” but said it’s “Mother Nature taking its course.”

A wildlife rescue team was waiting to extract the emaciated cub from the burn-scarred area.

As of Tuesday morning, the Dixie Fire had burned more than 604,000 acres and was about 31% contained, according to CalFire. It's the second-largest wildfire in California history.