(KTXL) — In March, agencies warned Lake Tahoe residents to expect an increase in bear activity following the aftermath of the Caldor Fire. 

Wild animals including bears, were forced to flee away from flames when the Caldor Fire erupted last year. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said the projected increase in bear activity is due to animals emerging from their winter dens. 

The CDFW said black bear encounters resulting in human injury are rare in California but can occur because bears can be unpredictable. 

“Most black bear attacks are defensive in nature because it has been startled or scared, or protecting cubs,” the CDFW said on its website. “In some cases, a food-conditioned, or habituated bear may become too bold and act aggressively towards people.” 

According to the CDFW added that every situation is different and prevention is key. 

If an encounter with a bear happens, here is what the CDFW recommends if it doesn’t see you, does see you, or approaches you.

If a bear does not see you

  • Keep a safe distance. Back away slowly.
  • Let the bear know you are there. Make noise by yelling, clapping hands, use noisemakers or whistles.
  • Do not run. Do not make eye contact. Let the bear leave the area on its own. 

If a bear does see you

  • Same steps as above
  • Make yourself look bigger by lifting and waving your arms

If a bear approaches you

  • Same steps as above
  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it properly. If a black bear makes contact, fight back. Then call 911. 

If you encounter a bear inside a home or structure

  • Keep a safe distance. Back away slowly.
  • Do not approach or confront it. Give it an escape route to leave on its own
  • If the bear cannot make its way out, go to a safe place. Call 911. 

What to do if a bear approaches a campground or picnic area at a national park

Bear spray and pepper spray may not be allowed in some national parks, but if an encounter happens in a campground or picnic area and there’s food out, the National Park Services recommends packing up all your food and leaving the area, especially if you’re having trouble scaring the bear away. 

The NPS said throwing food at the bear or leaving food behind it will only encourage its behavior and will likely result in the bear’s death. A park visitor should never leave out more food than they can control and not leave food out of arm’s reach, according to the NPS. 

If a bear already has food, do not try to take back anything it already has, the NPS said. 

“The purpose of yelling aggressively is not to harm the bear, but to scare it from the area and restore its natural fear of people by providing a negative experience,” the NPS said. “Scaring a bear away, along with storing your food properly, helps keeps bears wild and alive.”