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You Thought Sharknado Was Bad? Just Wait for Tarantulaferno

Mount Diablo’s spiders are caught in the park’s blaze.

We've all heard about Sharknado, but the fire raging near Mt. Diablo might add another nightmare portmanteau to our vocabulary of natural disasters plus terrifying creatures: Tarantulaferno.

Turns out that the area around the mountain is crawling this time of year with tarantulas just ripe for the fire to turn into arachnid hell-beasts flaming with satanic, venomous desire. Hell, we've already got the screenplay on spec. Imagine swarms of the fiery critters, their dead eyes reflecting the red flames, descending upon cattle, cars, and houses. Denise Richards can be the sexy scientist and Channing Tatum the heroic firefighter who beat back the smoldering arachnids, which are moments away from a broken-down school bus filled with children, by forcing them into a convenient reservoir. We figure that the spiders can live on in the sequel—Tarantulaferno 2: Web of Fire.

But we're not screenwriters—we're journalists. So we called Dave Matthews, District Public Safety Coordinator for the Mt. Diablo State Park, to ask what the real threat to wildlife would be from the fire.

Though humans can be evacuated, Matthews says, many of the park's animals cannot be. This time of year, wildlife is synonymous with the tarantula. The area around Mt. Diablo is crawling with them. Though they are venomous, tarantulas have never been known to cause human fatalities. In fact, at the park, they’re a seasonal draw for steel-stomached patrons. They can be seen on roads and paths, says Matthews, and docents show visitors where to spot them.

Matthews tells us the tarantulas are more in danger from the fire than they are a danger to us in some sort of imaginary David Lynchian spider-firestorm. There is hope for the spiders, though: “Most wild life have an understanding of the environment, a sixth sense if you will,” says Matthews, “and they take precautions or steps of their own.”

The website to visit to find out more information on the fire as it develops and is contained is fire.ca.gov. “Eventually we’ll take volunteers to help out,” says Matthews, but for now, “the most helpful thing anyone can do is to check the website and stay away from the fire.”

And if anyone at Syfy is reading this—have your people call our people.

 

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