Black Bear Burned in North Complex Fire Released Back Into Wild

A male black bear whose feet were badly burned in a North Complex fire in Butte County, California, was released back into the wild on Monday, October 5, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The bear, estimated to weigh around 370 pounds, was rescued by wildlife officials after it was found unable to walk and with four burned paws in Butte County in August.

The bear was treated at the Wildlife Investigations Laboratory in Rancho Cordova, where vets discovered the bear had suffered a minor eye injury and showed signs suggesting possible lung injury from smoke inhalation.

Vets treated the bear with pain medication and fluids to correct dehydration. The bear’s burned pads were cleaned and debrided using an infrared laser treatment before it was released back into the wild on Monday.

Wildlife officials said, “Although staff affixed a tracking collar to him, the crafty bear managed to pull it off shortly before the release.” Rather than sedate him again, a staff biologist decided to let him go without a collar.

Fire officials said that the North Complex group of fires had burned 318,929 acres. The fires were 88 percent contained as of October 7. Credit: California Department of Fish and Wildlife via Storyful