OHS Canada Magazine

‘Persistent’ bears force 160 firefighters to pull out of B.C. Interior camp

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August 31, 2023
By The Canadian Press

Health & Safety bears british columbia wildfires

Baby black bear playing in the tree. Photo: AB Photography/Adobe Stock

About 160 firefighters battling a blaze in the British Columbia Interior have had to pull out of their camp after they were subjected to what the BC Wildfire Service calls “persistent bear activity.”

The wildfire service says the bears threatened the safety of staff “within and around” the camp near Gold Bridge, about 100 kilometres west of Lillooet, prompting the decision to quit the camp Wednesday evening.

It says conservation officers are “assessing and advising” on plans to safely return the firefighters to continue their battle against the Downton Lake wildfire.

Scavenging bears have been a problem in other B.C. wildfire zones, with authorities in the Shuswap region in the Interior collecting refuse and refrigerators in hopes of keeping the animals at bay.

The Downton Lake fire has scorched 95 square kilometres of land and prompted evacuation orders and alerts.


The wildfire service says the fire’s activity remains low after rain fell across the fire overnight and Thursday morning, with more expected throughout the day.

“Approximately 160 personnel travelled to Lillooet where they are presently hosted at T’it’q’et First Nation and Lillooet municipality facilities,” the service said on social media.


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