But fires are as natural as air and water in the mountains of western Canada. Everything from hummingbirds to grizzly bears thrive in the aftermath of burns, and the latest creature on this list that we've learned about is the fire beetle, Melanophila acuminata.
|The fire beetle.|
Ecologists used to wonder how they managed to get to fires so quickly. The answer is amazing: Dr. William G. Evans, a retired prof at the University of Alberta, was the first to show that these beetles can detect infrared heat sources using paired receptors situated on the thorax. Apparently, they can detect the heat signature from a fire from over 50 km away!
We're guessing that there will be a lot of happy fire beetles out there this summer.
PS: if you're wondering about the smoke, it comes and goes, but we've never had more than a couple of days in a row of poor visibility before things clear up again.