With the ever growing list of rare and endangered animals and plants, there is ongoing pressure on wildlife organisations to take steps to conserve these threatened species from becoming extinct.
It is unfortunate that injury and death to wildlife will occur during runaway wildfires. While some animals have the ability to escape the advancing flames, others have no chance, such as chicks still in their nests. Most birds and larger mammals are able to flee from the fire, while rodents, reptiles, and many insects seek refuge underground or amongst the rocks. Others, like some tortoise species, withdraw into their shells, and provided the fire passes quickly, are able to survive the brief fiery onslaught. There are those larger animals that are injured or killed when they become disorientated, or caught between two fires.
We need to understand that a habitat can only support a certain population size at any given time, often called the carrying capacity. This number will vary from time to time (winter vs. summer, age of veld, etc.). If all the animals that could be removed before a fire were collected and taken somewhere else that had been identified as an area that would not be affected by the current fire, this new habitat would have its carrying capacity exceeded. This could result in over grazing, the cross contamination of gene pools, or unseasonal territorial fighting amongst species.
In natural circumstances, areas affected by wildfire are usually quick to recover. It is usually the habitats that have been changed by man (fences, alien plants, highways) that prevent nature from operating as it should, and the post-fire costs are usually very high, both from a conservation and financial viewpoint.