California firefighters are maintaining a tally of an emaciated, maybe orphaned bear cub: NPR

An orphaned bear cub struggles to survive in the Dixie Fire-burned area in Plumas County, California. Eugene Garcia / AP Hide caption

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Eugene Garcia / AP

An orphaned bear cub struggles to survive in the Dixie Fire burned area in Plumas County, California.

Eugene Garcia / AP

QUINCY, California – Firefighters keep an eye on a lone, emaciated bear cub that may have lost its mother to the largest wildfire in the country that is now burning in Northern California.

The pointy-eared cub wanders alone down a mountain road burned by the Dixie Fire near Taylorsville, peering through brush and leaping through plants covered in fire retardant chemicals.

“When you see her with a sow or a mother bear, they generally stay with the mother bear and run away,” said firefighter Johnnie Macy, who was deployed from Golden, Colorado to fight the fire. “This bear didn’t do that, so we believe the bear was orphaned by the fire.”

Macy said Sunday that they have been monitoring the boy for several days to see if he is an orphan. A wildlife rescue team was waiting to get the emaciated boy out of the burn.

Macy called the situation “heartbreaking” but said it was “Mother Nature who takes its course”.

Thousands of homes in Northern California, along with wildlife, remain threatened by the Dixie Fire, the largest forest fire in the country. Firefighters have discovered a lone, potentially orphaned bear in a burned area. Eugene Garcia / AP Hide caption

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Eugene Garcia / AP

Thousands of homes in Northern California, along with wildlife, remain threatened by the Dixie Fire, the largest forest fire in the country. Firefighters have discovered a lone, potentially orphaned bear in a burned area.

Eugene Garcia / AP

The Dixie Fire has been burning for more than a month and has destroyed more than 1,000 homes and businesses, with nearly 15,000 buildings still under threat. Pacific Gas & Electric said the fire may have started when a tree fell on its power line.

A bear named “Smokey” is, of course, the most famous orphaned cub in the country, rescued from wildfire.

Rescued from a New Mexico forest fire in 1950, the badly burned bear became the living, breathing embodiment of a national campaign that began in 1944 when the US Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed that a fictional bear should be the symbol of a Fire protection campaign would be.

Earlier this month, a bear cub with burns to its paw and nose was rescued from a fire in the eastern Siskiyou district of California. Also earlier that month, an injured cub emerged from a wildlife care center in Lake Tahoe where it was being treated for burns sustained in wildfire. The bear has since been spotted in the wild.

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