SONORA — The bears are awake, they're hungry, and they're coming to town.
Sonora police said they received a report that someone saw a black bear in town Monday around 9 p.m. The bear last was seen running into a wooded area east of Southgate Road.
Police issued some reminders to residents, courtesy of MountainNature.com:
Garbage disposal: Make sure you do not store garbage outside, in your vehicle or in a trailer near your residence. Remember, it's the smell that draws bears to a location.
Compost piles: Compost piles can be a critical part of your waste reduction plan. At the same time, it is important to limit what you place in compost piles. Avoid placing any meat byproducts such as fish, meat, bones, eggshells, dairy products or fruit in your compost pile. Adding some lime powder to your compost can speed the decomposition and reduce the smell, which attracts bears.
Barbecues: There's nothing like a summer barbecue on the patio. The smell of a juicy steak can permeate the air and attract much more than envious glances from nonbarbecuing neighbors. These same smells can attract bears to your deck once you head to bed. When you're finished with your feast, make sure to burn the food off the grill, or at least clean the barbecue carefully. Also, if you store your barbecue outside, be sure to use a cover, as this will reduce the smell emanating from it.
Bird feeders: Bird feeders have played a very serious role in attracting bears. There is no legitimate reason to have feeders up in the summer, because there are plenty of natural foods available. If you must have a bird feeder, be sure to wait until late November before filling it with seed, and don't forget to take it down before the bears come out in spring, usually by early March.