A black bear has had to be euthanized after sustaining severe injuries in the Caldor Fire, wildlife officials reported.
The bear, who was named “Tenderfoot” after suffering burns to its paws, was first spotted on 31 August by a fire crew battling the blaze in the Lake Tahoe area of northern California.
The fire, which has been burning since last month, has grown to 212,907 acres and has led to thousands of residents being evacuated from the popular tourist area.
Firefighter Bradcus Schrandt Sr discovered Tenderfoot behind trees near a residential neighborhood in Meyers, a small town in the forest close to the lake.
In the firefighter’s video, Tenderfoot can be seen lying on the ground licking his paws and surrounded by smoke-filled air.
“He is not doing well,” Mr Schrandt says.
People flooded social media to ask for updates on the bear.
Sadly, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reported on 1 September that Tenderfoot was too badly injured to survive and the team had been forced to euthanize him.
Tenderfoot’s third-degree burns meant that he couldn’t travel more than 30 feet at a time, officials told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Increasingly severe wildfires mean that wild animals are being forced from their natural habitats and into more densely-populated areas.
Wildfire smoke can also cause animals to develop respiratory or cardiovascular issues, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Powerful winds that are driving the Caldor Fire are expected to calm into the Labor Day weekend and officials are cautiously optimistic that firefighters will be able to contain the blaze.
Evacuation orders for some areas were downgraded to a warning, meaning that people can return to their homes.
The Caldor Fire is currently spreading east towards Nevada.
The fire, which ignited on 14 August, has destroyed 857 buildings and injured five people. It is currently 29 per cent contained, according to Cal Fire.
Higher temperatures and sustained droughts linked to the climate crisis are exacerbating wildfire seasons in California, and other regions of the US West.