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Beach fire and bears - oh my

It's proving to be the start of a long, hot summer, and if some are not careful, it might be a summer that ends in disaster.

It's proving to be the start of a long, hot summer, and if some are not careful, it might be a summer that ends in disaster.

Residents on Sandy Beach in Roberts Creek are sounding the alarm this week, or more aptly the fire alarm, after an abandoned beach fire set high in some logs came dangerously close to getting out of control, possibly destroying everything in its path.

Area residents were awakened in the early hours to shouts of "fire" and 9-1-1 was called. The fire department arrived on scene but was unable to access the site right away due to the location of the fire, leaving residents to tame the flames with garden hoses. Luckily, the fire was contained and the Roberts Creek fire department was able to get into the area to finally extinguish the blaze. But disaster was mere seconds away, all because someone was careless with their beach fire and didn't make sure it was put out properly before they left.

The summer is just starting, and so are the beach parties. The Sunshine Coast Regional District fire departments and Sunshine Coast RCMP are working out plans to increase signage and step up patrols. This will help, but it won't mean much if beach goers don't heed the signs and use some common sense. If you have a fire, put it out. Respect the residents in the area, and respect the beach area. It's really that simple.

And beach fires are but one issue this week drawing concern.

For the second time this season, a black bear was destroyed after getting a little too close for comfort. A Gibsons mother of two has quite a story to tell after a bear ended up in her kitchen looking for a meal. While the mother and her two children were unharmed, they spent a frightening 45 minutes barricaded in a bedroom while police contended with the bear. After snacking on a couple of bags of garbage and some dirty diapers, the bear didn't leave the area. When it began to advance towards the police officers, they were forced to shoot it.

The conservation service and police are using the incident to reinforce the message that residents must secure their garbage and get rid of attractants, such as bird seed and fruit trees. Two dead bears and 70 calls so far this season are two dead bears and 70 calls too many. We live in an area surrounded by wildlife. Bears and other animals will always be here. Thankfully, the family was not injured in this latest encounter, but if garbage and attractants aren't secured, we may not be so lucky the next time.