As wildfires continue to burn across Oregon forests animals may be searching new places for food and shelter – sometimes in residential areas.
Bears begin foraging for hibernation in late summer and autumn, often feeding on berries and grasses. Fire destruction may disrupt their natural feeding areas and push them into neighborhoods.
Michelle Dennehy from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says fires can be a natural part of forest health; but feeding bears in communities builds unnatural habits.
“The best advice is just don’t feed bears. Secure your trash cans if you’re in an area with bear activity, clean up the fruit from your yard, bring in your bird feeders.”
Several bear sightings were reported in residential areas of South Eugene earlier this year. Community members who see the animals should contact wildlife officials and allow the animals to leave on their own.