Wildlife moves into more populated areas as wildfires burn in the Northstate

Courtesy: Lilly Honey

With wildfires raging in the Northstate, wildlife habitats are being destroyed, and it seems to be causing wild animals, like bears and deer, to come into more human populated areas and properties.

Redding residents Lilly Honey said she had a scary encounter with a bear that has been around her home and property for two weeks.

"He's been hanging around every day," said Honey.

Honey said her first reaction seeing a young black bear cub on her family's backyard porch was shock.

"Oh my gosh, absolute fear," said Honey. "I was hearing a bunch of noise out in the bushes, thinking it was a deer and [I] came downstairs. Low and behold, we find a bear. I have a little pan for the birds for water and for the squirrels and stuff and he's laying just flat, just drinking up the water." said Honey.

Honey said she stopped filling up the pan with water and even the trash cans in the garage but the young bear did damage their septic tank in their backyard.

Honey said she reached out to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife but was told they don't relocate animals.

She said she's doing anything and everything to scare the bear away by banging pans and a blowhorn to creating noise in order to scare the bear away.

Honey added she's fearful and feels unsafe and purchased extra outdoor lights for their home.

"I'm worried that he's just going to stay around people rather than going somewhere where he's got food and water and safety and I'm also worried that he's going to get in the house," said Honey.

Deer, black bears, and mountain lions are common in the Northstate area, so there are things people can do to stay safe.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, a simple garbage can or pet food that's left outside on your property or yard can create problems with wildlife if they're venturing into residential neighborhoods.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Information Officer Kyle Orr said most wildlife will move away from the wildfires, but not all the time.

The department does not remove wildlife so if you happen to encounter a bear in you yard, chances are it will move on, but people can try to scare it away with noisemakers or blowing a whistle.

For wild deer, never feed them or other wildlife because it is illegal in California. Deer can also attract mountain lions as food.

Officials added if a bear breaks into your home, do not confront the bear. Most bears will look for an escape route so it's important to remember to move to a safe place and do not block exit points. If the bear does not leave, call 911.

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