Hungry bear damages Forest Service buildings in southern Ariz.

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- A bear rummaging for food damaged Forest Service buildings in southern Arizona.

According to USDA Forest Service spokeswoman Heidi Schewel, four buildings at Florida Station located on the Nogales Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest sustained damage on three successive nights between June 4 and 7.

Schewel said a bear entered enclosed porches to access a freezer and fish emulsion fertilizer. It also re-entered one of the porches to return to a freezer and entered a dwelling to access the refrigerator and freezer.

Schewel said doorways, cabinets, blinds, personal items and a gate were damaged. Windows were broken, screens were ripped, and porches and rooms were left in disarray.

Florida Station, also known as Florida Work Center, serves as headquarters for the University of Arizona Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER). Research on the range is conducted on livestock grazing, wildlife and ecology.

Following the third night of the bear's intrusions, the SRER Range Manager, who resides at the station, reported the behavior and damage to the Arizona Game and Fish Department for assistance with a solution to the problem.

Potential conflicts with black bears include public safety concerns and possible property damage. Most conflicts arise when bears are drawn to humans by food and garbage.

Visitors to public lands are reminded to be "bear aware" and avoid contact with bears. For more information on the Bear Aware program, visit