TRUCKEE, Calif. (KTXL) — California Highway Patrol officials in Truckee are issuing a bizarre warning for drivers: Don’t light your car on fire to keep bears away.
The CHP posted a picture Thursday of a deputy extinguishing the smoldering remnants of a fire on the hood of a car near an Interstate 80 entrance.
“We are always appreciative of additional fire extinguisher training, but in case anyone was wondering, no you cant light a fire on the hood of your vehicle to ‘keep the bears away,'” CHP-Truckee wrote along with the photo.
As California’s population grows, so does its black bear population — and both humans and animals are experiencing more and more unwanted interactions.
Back in June, when a black bear walked onto a Solano County farm and killed a goat, Dr. Jamie Sherman of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine said the animals have been spotted across the state.
Bears may also be moving to places with more water as California experiences a major drought.
“They travel extremely far,” Dr. Sherman explained. “In fact, I believe there’s been a black bear sighted in nearly every single county in California.”
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the best thing drivers can do in bear country is clear cars of trash, groceries and pet food.
And if you happen to have a run-in with a bear, experts say stay to calm. If a bear does approach you, the CDFW says to make loud noises by clapping or yelling and make yourself appear bigger by lifting and waving your arms.
“Really the best thing to do if you come into contact with a bear is to back away slowly and leave them be,” Sherman said.