(SOUTHERN COLORADO) — The Forest Service U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is ordering a food storage order to protect people from wildlife in southern Colorado.

The order is for the Pikes-San Isabel National Forest & Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands effective immediately and will remain in effect through June 5, 2028.

The food storage order prohibits the possession of food, bird feeders, cooking equipment, personal care products, and coolers unless it is stored inside a securable container or vehicle constructed of non-pliable material, without any cracks, or openings, that would allow a bear to gain entry, suspended 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet from any tree.

The USDA said bears are opportunists by nature and will feed on whatever is readily available in the wild. Their sense of smell can lead them to unnatural food sources such as human foods in picnic areas, campsites, and trails. Bears that rely on human food sources tend to lose their fear of humans and some may become aggressive.

For more information on the food storage order, you can click on the link above.