Lassen National Forest Reminds Us We Are In Bear County

The Dixie Fire has impacted wildlife habitat, including bears. This time of year bears are actively looking for food to prepare for hibernation.
This safety message was posted on September 16th on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Facebook Page: “Please do not provide food or water to bears; it is illegal, and it can lead to escalating nuisance behavior including break-ins and human-bear contact that may result in death of that bear. It’s possible that family groups were separated but don’t assume that small or young bears are orphaned or in need of help. Although habitat was lost, bears can and will find natural resources in unburned areas …
Bears need our respect, not our handouts! We need your help ensuring that bears don’t increase their dependency on people for food, especially as they head into hyperphagia (eating and drinking nonstop as they prepare for hibernation) this fall to prepare for winter. They are equipped to find high calorie natural foods, even after fire. Please remember to secure food and garbage to reduce availability for bears.
Finally, some wildlife may be injured or burned due to the fires. However, wildlife is very resilient and many animals can recover and heal quickly on their own. Do not approach or provide food or water to burned and injured animals. Your proximity may be adding stress. If you care, leave them there!”
Remember that A bear that is fed or “food conditioned” with human food/garbage even just once can start a bear on the path of recognizing that humans are a possible source of food. This will result in bears approaching people, campgrounds, homes, and trailers, even visiting areas that may not be responsible for feeding. The instinctive fear of humans can be replaced by a positive association.
Report known areas of conditioned bears.
California Dept of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Conflict Hotline is checked daily 916-358-2917.