The BC Conservation Service is warning West Kelowna residents that the McDougall Creek wildfire has led to the displacement of wildlife in the area, leading to the potential increase in bear encounters.
Along with community officials, the conservation service is working to manage wildlife attractants and reduce conflict.
Areas where homes were evacuated and/or suffered from a power outage, may have led to rotting food in fridges and freezers that can attract bears and other wildlife, creating a risk to public safety.
“Residents can help by inspecting their properties and taking steps to secure attractants, such as, garbage, fruit trees, bird seed and pet food,” said Conservation Officer Ken Owens.
Owens also reminds residents not to feed wildlife, as it can cause habituation and food conditioning that in turn jeopardizes public safety and animal welfare.
Residents can now place their ruined fridges and freezer curbside for pick-up by Rapid Response Industrial Group, from homes that have been affected by significant power outages. Residents should contact their insurers about what to do with home contents including spoiled food, fridges and freezers before they take action.
Once fridges have been collected, they cannot be returned.
Steps to take for fridge and freezer curbside pick-up:
•Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a pick-up.
•Do not open fridge and seal with duct tape prior to moving.
•Move appliances from your home and place on curbside or driveway by 8 a.m. on the scheduled day of pick-up.
•To reduce wildlife conflicts in neighbourhoods, resident should not put fridges or freezers outside until just before scheduled collection time.
Requests submitted before 4 p.m. will be picked up the following day before 4 p.m. Requests after 4 p.m. are subject to 24-hour delay of pick-up. Special requests with extenuating circumstances can contact 956-302-6611 to facilitate pick-up for residents with mobility challenges.
For more information visit, www.wildsafebc.com.