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Andreia Garcês, Isabel Pires
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Fire Ecology
Fire Effects
Fire & Wildlife
Smoke Emissions
Smoke Emissions and Inventory

NRFSN number: 25430
FRAMES RCS number: 67634
Record updated:

Wildfires are common occurrences worldwide that can destroy vast forest areas and kill numerous animals in a few hours. Climate change, rising global temperatures, precipitation, the introduction of exotic species of plants (e.g., eucalyptus), intensive agriculture, and deforestation have increased the number of fires and their intensity and destructive power. Nearly 4% of the global land surface (30–46 million/km2) is burned annually. There are many studies regarding the impact of wildfires on ecosystems, flora, domestic animals, and humans. Even though wildfires are a common and recurrent problem around the world, most of the time, they are a neglected issue, especially regarding wildlife. The information available is scarce and dispersed across several bibliographical references, and the veterinarian teams, most of the time, need to be trained to act in these situations. In this brief review, we describe different species’ behavior during a wildfire, the effects on the ecosystem, and the socioeconomic impact on the region. From a veterinarian’s perspective, we list the major injuries that are expected to be observed and how to proceed. In conclusion, we discuss better prevention and response measures in a wildfire scenario. This information can be used by veterinarians and all the entities involved in the prevention and combat of wildfires, and the general public has an important role in these situations.


Garcês, Andreia; Pires, Isabel. 2023. The hell of wildfires: the impact on wildlife and its conservation and the role of the veterinarian. Conservation 3(1):96-108.

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