Bear burned in 2014 wildfire doing well

Cinder was in bad shape when discovered in a 2014 wildfire. (Photo courtesy of Rich Beausoleil)

METHOW VALLEY, Wash. -- Cinder, a black bear burned in 2014's Carlton Complex fire, is doing well in the wild, according to the Department of Wildlife biologist monitoring her.

Rich Beausoleil outfitted Cinder with a tracking collar when she was released in 2015. Beausoleil today revealed he went to replace the radio collar in February of 2017. He said she weighed 110 pounds, what he called "a perfectly normal weight" for a hibernating female black bear. Cinder emerged from her den April 12. Beausoleil said she is still too young to have cubs.

Cinder captured the hearts of the community when she crawled to a homeowner's property in the Methow Valley, badly burned. She had burns to her face, neck, chest and legs. She spent more than 300 days at the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Center being rehabilitated. She was released back into the wild on June 3, 2015.

Beausoleil said seeing Cinder mature is gratifying, but not just because the release was a success. Beausoleil referred to how the community of the Methow Valley rallied around the bear. He said children who were burn victims at Camp Eyasbut in North Bend made Cinder their official mascot. And he shared the story of a little girl 2,500 miles away on the East Coast who sent a card that simply said “thanks for saving Cinder.”

"That really affected me," Beausoleil said. "I know we aren’t going to save every inured bear, but when we can it’s been shown that these efforts can affect people too. It can strengthen agency relationships, increase support for conservation, and reach the public in ways never even considered."

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