Bear in good shape going into the fall as it returns to the wild after East Canyon Fire

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

AZTEC — A bear injured in June when the East Canyon Fire charred nearly 3,000 acres near Mancos, Colorado, returned to the wild on Aug. 24. The East Canyon Fire was sparked by lightning on June 24.

According to a press release from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the two-year-old male black bear was taken to a remote location near the place it was found. It hesitated for a minute and sniffed its new surroundings, then jumped from the container in the back of the truck and dashed into the aspen forest.

“Now he’s got food, he’s got water, he’s got everything he needs,” said Wildlife Officer Steve McClung in the press release. “And I hope I never see him again.”

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A bear injured during the East Canyon Fire returned to the wild on Aug. 24 in Colorado.

The bear was initially found on June 16 in a boggy area and did not move when approached, which indicated it was in pain.

After being taken to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Frisco Creek rehabilitation facility in Del Norte, a wildlife technician cleaned the burned paws, applied salves and wrapped its feet.

“He was a good patient,” said Michael Sirochman, veterinary technician and manager of the Frisco Creek facility in the press release.

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A young black bear prepares to return to the wild after being injured in the East Canyon Fire.

The bear weighed 43 pounds when it was found and has since gained weight, weighing 110 pounds when it was released.

“He’s now about the weight he should be for a two-year-old bear and is in good shape for going into the fall,” Sirochman said.  

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at