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Md.’s Bald Eagles Threatened By Wildfire

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Carroll County brush fire

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MIDDLE RIVER, Md. (WJZ)—A growing threat of wildfires. On Wednesday, state officials raised the danger level to very high.

Adam May reports fires are already impacting wildlife.

One of these fires forced bald eagles to flee their nests. And strangely enough, another bird may have started the fire.

Flames swept across Carroll Island on Tuesday during one of many wildfires breaking out across Maryland. State officials say it doesn’t get much worse than this.

“We have high winds, low humidity and dry fuel moisture, which is the perfect recipe for large wildfires,” said Monte Mitchell, DNR fire supervisor.

Carroll Island is part of Aberdeen Proving Ground, home to one of the largest bald eagle populations in the United States.

Researchers say what eagles love about the proving ground is the undisturbed shoreline.

A recent WJZ special report revealed almost 200 birds call the area home.

The nearby explosions don’t bother the eagles, according to researchers.

“It doesn’t faze them.  It’s like background noise,” a researcher said.

Carroll Island alone has four pairs of bald eagles. Tuesday’s fire forced two pairs to flee their nests.

Flames burned the bottom of their trees, making it unclear if they’ll return to their eggs.

“Unfortunately wildlife does get caught in path of fire.  As far as eagles, we’ll have to wait and see how this affected them,” Mitchell said.

State officials say 98 percent of wildfires are caused by people, but in this case officials at APG suspect another bird is to blame.

They believe an osprey may have dropped hot cinders or even glass, which magnified the sun in the dry brush.

Officials at APG are going to examine the nests by foot once the ground cools.

Smokers are urged to be extra careful when discarding cigarettes.

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