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Fire department grins and "bears" it during wildlife encounter

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
May 17th, 2010

The Castlegar fire department was at risk of losing all its picnic baskets when Yogi’s Kootenay counterpart came snffing around the local fire hall at around 9:30 this morning.

Fire chief Gerry Rempel said a citizen came in to notify firefighters that a large brown bear was dumpster diving in a garbage container behind the hall.

“He was fair-sized, but he looked pretty hungry and didn’t want to listen – he was concentrating on the garbage,” Rempel said.

They contacted conservation officers, then attempted to scare the bear away by blaring sirens …to no avail. An impromptu bath, when they turned a fire hose on the bruin, was equally unsuccesful, driving the bear up into a tree near the city Skate Park.

“When he went up into the tree, we cleaned the garbage up, since it didn’t look like he was going to bother doing it himself,” Rempel said, adding an off-duty conservation officer had, at this point, arrived on the scene and was offering his assistance.

“After a while, the bear came down from tree, and the C/O (conservation officer) yelled at him and he ran away,” he concluded. “I guess the C/O has a little more authority with bears than us firefighters do.”

RCMP Sgt. Laurel Mathew said there has been a marked increase in bear sightings in recent weeks, and encourages residents and business alike to please secure garbage containers, and refrain from storing pet food and other consumables out-of-doors and within reach of bears.

For more information on how to bear-proof your home or business, visit http://www.bearaware.bc.ca/

Categories: General

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