Arizona Bears Being Affected By Wildfire

Arizona Game and Fish Department, Bear Hunting Magazine

There are currently three significant wildfires burning in Arizona. It is too early to know the short-term or long-term impacts the fire will have to habitat, wildlife, waters, access, hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation until the fires are put out and crews can go in and make an assessment. The Wallow Fire in northeastern Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests lies within Game Management Units 1 and 27; which is a popular area for bear hunting.

For those who have applied for or already have a hunting permit in any of the affected Arizona units, there are no provisions in state law (ARS §17-332) or Commission rule for Game and Fish to issue any refunds, reinstate bonus points or offer a rain-check.

However, until the fires are put out, there is no certainty what the conditions will be in these areas, and hunters could find conditions ranging from area closures to near-normal conditions come hunting season. But, what the FGD found in Unit 3C in the aftermath of the huge Rodeo-Chediski Fire in 2002; even though the units habitat was greatly affected, there was no significant reduction in the availability of big game animals in the fall hunts.

Game and Fish will continue to provide information related to wildlife, habitat, and outdoor recreation in these areas as more is learned at Arizona Department of Game and Fish.

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