160 firefighters have to abandon their camp because of persistent bears in Canada

A camp for firefighters battling a British Columbia wildfire had to be shut down because of “persistent bear activity,” Canada wildlife officials reported.

About 160 firefighters at a camp near Goldbridge to fight the Downton Lake wildfire relocated to T’it’q’et First Nation and Lillooet community facilities, officials said on Twitter, now rebranded as X.

The British Columbia Wildlife Service said it ordered the closure to “ensure the safety” of firefighters.

Conservation officers are working to find a safe place for a new camp so firefighters can resume battling the wildfire, officials said.

Officials did not provide details on the bear activity, but bears frequently enter campgrounds looking for food or trash.

A video posted to X by Dashwood Fire Department shows a bear climbing a rocky slope near the camp as firefighters shout at the animal to drive it away.

“I think the bear wanted to help us on the fire line,” firefighters wrote.

Wildfires in Canada had already scorched 11 million acres in early June an area twice the size of New Jersey, CNN reported.

The Goldbridge area is about 100 miles north of Vancouver.

What to do if you see a bear

Bear attacks in the U.S. are rare, according to the National Park Service. In most attacks, bears are trying to defend their food, cubs or space.

There are steps people can take to help prevent a bear encounter from becoming a bear attack.

  • Identify yourself: Talk calmly and slowly wave your arms. This can help the bear realize you’re a human and nonthreatening.

  • Stay calm: Bears usually don’t want to attack; they want to be left alone. Talk slowly and with a low voice to the bear.

  • Don’t scream: Screaming could trigger an attack.

  • Pick up small children: Don’t let kids run away from the bear. It could think they’re small prey.

  • Hike in groups: A group is noisier and smellier, the National Park Service said. Bears like to keep their distance from groups of people.

  • Make yourself look big: Move to higher ground and stand tall. Don’t make any sudden movements.

  • Don’t drop your bag: A bag on your back can keep a bear from accessing food, and it can provide protection.

  • Walk away slowly: Move sideways so you appear less threatening to the bear. This also lets you keep an eye out.

  • Again, don’t run: Bears will chase you, just like a dog would.

  • Don’t climb trees: Grizzlies and black bears can also climb.

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