As if it wasn’t hazardous enough being a firefighter, the crews in Glacier National Park have to be prepared for fighting off bears as well. Bear encounters have become a safety issue at their base camp and along the fire line:
“There has been a lot of bears spotted out here, quite a few black bears, quite a few grizzlies, the crews have been reporting pretty much every day. A lot of us are local so we deal with bears quite often.”Operation Breach Director for the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team Justin Kaber
To address the growing problem of firefighters encountering bears while out on the job officials briefed crews on how to use bear spray and on how to prevent attracting bears by being diligent about food and anything fragrant including toiletries:
“Don’t have anything like toiletries that might have an odor to them. An underarm perspirant, lip balm, anything like that, you don’t have anything in your tent, you just have your sleeping bag and your clothes and that’s it.”Northern Rockies Incident Management Team Fire Information Officer Mike Cole
Bears are starting to wrap it up for the summer and preparing to den, so residents and recreationists alile are also encouraged to do like the firefighters do and remove and secure food attractants to prevent future conflicts.