Letters from the West

Bear bites firefighter, Fish and Game kills bear

A male black bear believed to have bitten a sleeping firefighter Tuesday in the McCall area was killed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Wednesday.

The firefighter was taken to the hospital, treated for minor wounds and released, then he returned to work, Forest Service officials said.

The bear was trapped within a half mile of the fire camp and matched the description of the one involved in the biting. Fish and Game will attempt a DNA test to see if it can confirm it was the same bear by taking saliva from the bear and matching it to saliva on the firefighter’s small tent, Fish and Game said.

Idaho Fish and Game had reports of a bear in the area raiding garages and causing property damage. Fish and Game personnel had set a trap prior to the bear biting the firefighter, but hadn’t been able to catch it.

“We have responded to several calls of bears in town in the McCall area, and most, if not all, can be attributed to the availability of food,” Fish and Game’s Southwest Region supervisor Scott Reinecker said.