Hungry Bears are Out and About Around Lake Tahoe, Officials Warn

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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE -- People around Lake Tahoe may start spotting bears now that the weather has started warming up.

"Right now as spring approaches, everything happens fast. Everything's going to ramp up quick here," said Toogee Sielsch.

Sielsch is co-director of the Sierra Wildlife Coalition.

"I keep an eye on some houses that some bears, at times of the year, move in and out of. When I say in and out of, I mean underneath. Unsecured crawl spaces," he told FOX40. "I call them 'bear-bnbs.'"

Under one vacant South Lake Tahoe home, Sielsch was able to locate a bear resting in one of those crawl spaces.

"It's a quiet environment. It's a contained environment and he's very comfortable there," he said. "They don't like open spaces for denning. They like nice tight spaces."

One of Sielsch's cameras positioned outside of a local property spotted another bear out for some fresh air. Sielsch guessed he weighed around 450 to 475 pounds. The city of South Lake Tahoe also tweeted out pictures Monday of a few other bears strolling around neighborhoods.

Bears love food and will go just about anywhere to get it. They like to eat spring grass but the grass has barely begun to emerge -- and that's a problem.

"Because, obviously, they're trying to find some sort of calorie sources and right now the easiest way to do that is human trash," Sielsch said. "This time of year we like to remind people that they need to really pay attention."

Sielsch recommends storing and securing trash and only putting it out the morning it needs to be picked up.

Windows located at ground level should also be locked and closed. Ideally, crawl spaces should also be secured.

The hope is that bears keep away from neighborhoods populated by people.

"Because the more they think they belong there, the more trouble they're gonna get themselves into," Sielsch said.

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