are wild animals really afraid of fire?**serious answers only please.?

my husband is trying to convince me that wild animals, (like bears, coyotes, skunks etc...) are afraid of fires, meaning camp fires/bon fires. i have a hard time believing that a bear is afraid of this, like when you are camping. does any one have a real answer and why they would be afraid and not attack or come near? thanks

Update:

***hellooooooooo, i am in here.

i didnt SAY FOREST FIRES. i said camp fires. small camp fires that you can roast marshmellows at.

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Well yes and no. We here in Alaska have found that a fire kept going in your camp will indeed detour bears. Of course if you have lots of good smelling food, like a bar-b-q going it would be more apt to attract Mr bear.

    In the last 40 years that I have been in the wilderness I always kept a fire going at out hunting base camp. And it did seem to keep the bears away. I think it’s from the animal’s natural fear of a forest fire. They smell the smoke and it makes them wary (if you have a clean camp with food put away). Locals here in Alaska generally keep a fire going to keep the critters away.

    But one time I was sitting by the fire in Arkansas waiting for my hunting buddies to return when a raccoon came up to the fire and sat next to me. He just sat there for about 20 minutes (warming up?) then he left into the woods. Lol it was funny!

    Man has used fire to protect themselves from animals for thousands of years. I have had a pack of wolves make a wide berth of our camp when the fire was going but when it died they came into our camp and I had to run them off (they were after our sled dogs).

    So I would say your hubby it correct. The larger the fire the more of a deterrent and the more smoke the better. Smoke also hides the human scent. If you walk through the smoke a few times it really does disguise human smells.

    But if you have lots of food laid out on a picnic table, the raccoon or bear will still try to get it, fire or no fire.

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  • 1 decade ago

    This question was asked before, about bears ;

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=200708...

    Have you ever seen what fire does to an animal’s fur? They go up like a torch! Hair and fur is very flammable. I have seen animals running out of a forest fire on fire. I think it is a primitive fear that all animals share to some degree. But as others have stated IF there is the smell of food and the animal is hungry they will ignore the fire for the food.

    So if you have a little camp fire with lots of food; no it won’t stop them. But if you have a rip roaring bon fire they will avid it.

    Animals have far more smarts than people give them credit. If they sense danger they will tend to shy away.

    I too have known many who kept a big fire to keep animals out of their camp. And I think the reason it works some times, is because the smoke smell covers smells that attract them. But the smell of cooking will attract them.

    As another has said; bears are not that aggressive. I have fished in rivers with bears only yards away and never was attacked.

    So your little camp fire with marshmallows is not going to get you killed. Not leaving when the bear shows up may.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Fire, cigarette smoke and certain other scents are usually associated with humans..

    I do not think that wild animals have a "fear" of a campfire... But it sure does give people a false sense of security to think that...

    While normally most animals tend to avoid all human contact...That sometimes isn't the case....Bears tend to stay away from people. But in some cases where perhaps camp visitors have feed the bears they associate humans with hand outs....Keep food stuffs sealed so the smell doesn't get out and you will be OK...

    Coyotes rarely ever attack anything larger than a small lap dog...They are not going to go after a grown human...And I have NEVER heard of an attack skunk!!! Although I did get sprayed when I caught one when I was young....

    Actually the most dangerous wild animal in north America is......The Whitetail Deer!!!

    Because they cause so many car wrecks...

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Animals have an inherent fear of fire just as they do of other possible dangers such as humans. Many animals will not come around a camp fire due to this fear. However, there is another drive in an animal's life and that is food. If you have a campfire AND leave food out at night, FOOD trumps fear of fire. If you keep your area free of food and other attractants and have a nice camp fire, animals will tend to avoid your camp. They have an innate fear of fire and humans. Exceptions to this might be such beesties as scorpions which are known to be attracted to the heat of your fire. Their miniscule brain doesn't seem to understand fire but they do understand that warm feels good.

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  • JD
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    ALL game animals are wary of the smell of smoke from any source of fire..That being said I can tell you from first hand experience that Bears in particular are not the least bit intimidated by campfires. In fact just the opposite. If a Bear is hungry and looking for food, they will come into a campsite without fear (drawn in by the campfire light and smells). In the last 15 years while hunting in Canada ,twice Bears smelled our campfire and cooking and walked right into our campsite like he/she belonged there....Both times we abandoned our dinner and backed out of "Dodge" while the Bears helped themselves to our food. We had no hunting tags for Bear so we couldn't shoot them (Not that we wanted to anyway) Despite these "contacts" I've learned that Bears are not aggressive as you might think, and rarely will they "attack" unprovoked..But they will do what they have to in order to eat. For this reason we always stored our food in sacks hung from high tree limbs with steel chain so the Bears can't get to it easily....

    NOTE* Most Outfitters in the U.S. and Canada that I have had personal contact with, agree the Bears coming in on a campfire in wilderness areas is a pretty common occurance.

    Source(s): Gunsmith/Gun Shop Owner-Dealer Avid Lifetime Hunter-U.S. and Canada 40 Years Hunting Experience+
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  • 1 decade ago

    Well I wouldn't say they are "afraid" of fire... But it doesn't take a human mind to know when something is hot and not to touch it. Plus the odd lighting and smell could be off-putting to animals.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I do not think they are afraid of it just cautious normally when the forest smells like fire it is on fire. So the survival kick in and tells them to stay away from the smell.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Animals typically avoid fire.

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  • marian
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    You raise some good points in your question.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    no, they will walk right into a burning forrest.....

    hellooo?! anyone in there?!

    fire=death

    why do you think they run from a forrest fire?

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