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QUINCY, Calif. – Firefighters battling the nation’s largest wildfire have been monitoring a potentially orphaned bear cub near Taylorsville in northern California.

“Generally when you see them with a sow or a mother bear, they’ll stay with the mother bear and run off,” firefighter Johnnie Macy, who was deployed from Golden, Colorado, to battle the fire, told The Associated Press.

“This bear hasn’t done that, so because of that we think that the bear’s orphaned as a result of the fire,” Macy added, calling the situation “heartbreaking.”

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The fire Macy referenced is the Dixie Fire, which has been burning for more than a month, destroying more than 1,000 homes and businesses to date and threatening another 15,000 structures. Pacific Gas & Electric has said the fire may have been sparked when a tree fell on its power line.

Meanwhile, a wildlife rescue team has been standing by to extract the emaciated cub from the scorched area, Macy added.

>> Related: Bear cub badly burned in wildfire recovering at California wildlife center

According to the BBC, a team of veterinarians from the University of California Davis treated more than 1,000 animals rescued from northern California’s August 2020 Lightning Complex Fire, which scorched more than 1.25 million acres and forced thousands of evacuations.

Meanwhile, National Geographic reported that no sound data exists tracking the number of animals killed annually by wildfires but noted there are no documented cases of even the most severe blazes wiping out entire populations or species.

“Wildlife have a long-standing relationship with fire,” Ohio State University ecosystem ecologist Mazeika Sullivan told the magazine in a 2014 interview.. “Fire is a natural part of these landscapes.”

Still, young and small animals, such as the seemingly orphaned bear cub, are at particular risk of dying in wildfires because they may not be able to run fast enough or to find shelter, National Geographic reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.