For all the destruction Colorado wildfires have wreaked on people and homes, state employees are also warning that burned-out natural habitat will cause problems for bear populations already stressed by a long dry spell and poor foraging.
During fire season, more hungry bears than usual will be sniffing around residential neighborhoods and dumpsters containing food spoiled by fire-induced power outages.
Garbage-habituated bears associate food with people and often become particularly dangerous.
“This year we’re asking people to be extraordinarily careful about what they leave out,” said Theo Stein, manager of external relations for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “That includes dog food, bird feeders, and greasy grills. In the aftermath of the fires, if we don’t get moisture for a green-up, we’re going to see a lot of hungry bears.”