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Columbia Falls enacts emergency ordinance to prevent bear, human conflicts

Posted at 8:12 AM, Sep 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-09 11:50:11-04

COLUMBIA FALLS - The City of Columbia Falls has enacted an emergency ordinance regarding city-wide preventative measures to avoid bear and human conflicts.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) are reporting an increase in bear conflicts in the city as the bears are getting into fruit trees, pet food and outdoor garbage and waste containers.

The emergency ordinance is in place for up to 90 days and citizens not following it may be subject to a misdemeanor and could be fined up to $500.

Under the ordinance:

  • No outdoor feeding of domestic animals unless food is locked and secured overnight.
  • Store all attractants, including garbage and recycling, indoors or in bear-resistant garbage cans.
  • Remove ripe fruit from trees and areas around the trees, do not leave fruit for bears and other animals.
  • Remove or empty bird feeders at night, do not leave any food outdoors overnight
  • Store coolers, grills, smokers, and any other items with food scent indoors.
  • All domestic waste should be properly secured and stored indoors. Do not accumulate garbage and recycling in truck beds, piles in yards or stored in vehicles.
  • Store garbage roll out indoors until the morning of scheduled pick up.