This year has been strange for all of us, including the bears. The hot and dry conditions have wiped out the huckleberry crop in the mountains, forcing the bears to move down into the valley early in search of food. We have already been receiving reports of bears foraging orchards for fruit. It is important to keep the bears from becoming a problem, both for the safety of your family and for their future. Remember, a fed bear is a dead bear, as these are often the animals that become the problem bears. Try to keep the bears from destroying your trees, rummaging through your garbage or foraging through you yard by keeping fruit cleaned up. Apples and plums are ripening very early this year, and many are starting to fall off the tree. The fruit on the ground gives the bear easy access to food, and encourages them to start tear fruit off the tree. Keeping the ripe fruit picked, cleaning the fruit that has fallen off the ground, and putting it in a bear-safe container or immediately in the dump can help prevent the bears from becoming a problem. A trunk gaurd is never a bad idea this time of year, either, whether it is to protect from bear claws or deer antlers.