Bears come seeking donations for firefighters in Minnesota

Fire crews fighting the Greenwood Fire in northeastern Minnesota unload supplies. Donations to the crews have lured black bears to the area. Credit: U.S. Forest Service-Superior National Forest

A wildfire in northeastern Minnesota have resulted in an unusual wildlife problem. Black bears are raiding the food donations left for firefighters by grateful residents. “Donations have far out-stripped our need and our ability to store what we have received,” Superior National Forest officials posted in a social media update. “We have no remaining storage space and donations now must be stored in the open on pallets, making them an attractant to bears. We have had two instances of bear damage already.”

Crews have been battling the Greenwood Fire since Aug. 15 near the town of Isabella, where black bears (Ursus americanus) are common. Officials say they appreciate the generosity, but the food would be better sent to local food banks and fire departments.

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