I can't tell you how much I love coming across these completely off-the-wall, useless-trivia sorts of stories.
So the other day I was aimlessly wandering the web like I tend to do when I came across a story that sounded too bizarre to be true about Johnny Cash, a wildfire, and a bunch of California Condors.
After “Walk the Line” came out, Johnny became a superstar again. He was the original bad boy in country music. Of course no one seems to remember the time he almost wiped out a species of birds. We kid you not. Cash was going through Los Padres National Forest in central California. His truck overheated and it went up in flames. Like a normal person, Cash went fishing instead of trying to find help. The fire spread and burned a square mile of the forest. Here comes the bird part: 49 California Condors were killed by the fire. This was approximately 50% of the entire species. So what happened? The government sued him and they settled for a $82,000 fine. Of course it took over $30 million to attempt to conserve these birds. His defense? He was sorry but “I don’t give a damn about your yellow buzzards.”
Like I said, it sounded too bizarre to be true so I went to Wikipedia and sure enough there it was. Wikipedia doesn't say that the fire killed the condors, but it does say that 49 of the refuge's 53 condors were driven off by it.
Weird. I remember when I was a kid in grade school hearing all about the endangered California Condors and how scientists were going to extremes to try and save them. Who knew all these years later I'd find out that Johnny Cash nearly wiped out the few birds that were left.