WHITEFISH - The bears are waking up from hibernation this spring and starting to move into lower elevations in Flathead County.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) officials are warning residents that bears are starting to look for food sources after a long winter of denning.
A popular bear destination is the Whitefish area where up to 19 bears were sported getting into garbage last September.
Garbage containers in Whitefish must be stored indoors until the day of collection under city ordinance. Whitefish City Manager Dana Smith says a civil penalty of up to $300 could be issued to residents not following the ordinance.
“With your current garbage containers, it’s very important that you just put them out the morning of and bring those back in, we really want those secured, we do have our law enforcement going out and checking containers so if you do leave yours out — and it's unsecured — then you do risk a citation at this point.”
Smith says the city is working on a plan to provide animal-resistant containers to all Whitefish residents in the coming months.
We will have the full story during the Friday 5:30 News.