Watch: Wildfire strikes California condor sanctuary

The Dolan Fire burned through the Ventana Wildlife Society’s condor sanctuary near Big Sur. Credit: YouTube

Usually the web cams at the Ventana Wildlife Society’s condor sanctuary near Big Sur, California, capture the activities of endangered California condors (Gymnogyps californianus). But when the Dolan Fire, one of hundreds of wildfires burning in California, reached the sanctuary, their cameras captured the fire’s spread.

The impacts of the fire on the sanctuary and on the condors are still unknown, the Ventana Wildlife Society posted on its web cam page on Monday, “but based on the fire activity we witnessed on the condor sanctuary cam that fateful night, we are fairly sure we lost most of our structures.”

Of eight condor condor nests with chicks this year, five are within the fire zone, Ventana Wildlife Society Executive Director Kelly Sorenson tells NPR. “Even just four or five birds would be a huge loss,” Sorenson says. “It’s just really nerve-wracking now, not knowing.”

Watch the video of the last moments of the condor cam below: