Bears in the area took it upon themselves to patrol the mostly unoccupied area after the Caldor fire drove 22,000 inhabitants of South Lake Tahoe, California, to leave.
Bears searched through trash cans and broke into homes in search of food, with occupants gone, garbage service suspended last week, and a fire raging through their habitat.
They’ve been seen in people’s houses, gas stations, and outside grocery stores.
The El Dorado county sheriff’s office reported that neighbourhoods were littered with trash, and bear break-ins, which have long been an issue in this area and are frequent this time of year, increased considerably, affecting scores of homes and automobiles.
Last week, the Caldor fire in the Lake Tahoe area, a famous tourist attraction on the California-Nevada border, triggered unprecedented evacuations.
The fire, which has destroyed 776 homes, is just 50% contained and continues to threaten regions south of town.
Bears are known to inhabit the Lake Tahoe region neighbourhoods, but officials warned that there was more bear activity than usual after the evacuation, and that returning homeowners should keep an eye out for wildlife in the area.
Bears have taken advantage of the dead town since the South Lake Tahoe evacuation orders went into place over two weeks ago.
Two bears were seen digging through a trash can last week, while another was seen attempting to unlock a garage door.
(With inputs from agencies)
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