Squamish's bear problem hit far too close to home for one woman in the Upper Squamish Valley.
Two bears were killed Sept. 29 after they broke into a woman's house in the Upper Squamish searching for food.
"They had broken into a house," said Chris Doyle, the conservation officer. "They broke through a window."
There was one female occupant in the house. She barricaded herself in a room and she wasn't injured.
"She was definitely upset," Doyle said. "In most of these cases, it's not a predatory type of incident."
The smell of food attracted the bears, he said.
Doyle said bear home invasions are unusual in Squamish, although it has happened in Whistler.
The number of bears killed is still rising. On Oct. 1, a bear in Garibaldi Highlands was killed.
"It had been hanging around the area for several months," Doyle said.
The same day, the RCMP shot a bear in Brackendale.
"That was a habituated bear conditioned to garbage as well," Doyle said.
This year 25 bears have been killed in the Squamish area. Doyle received 562 calls about bears from the area, and 1,100 calls about bears from the Squamish district, which covers an area from Lions Bay to D'Arcy.
The numbers are the highest they've been in Squamish since 1999, when 30 bears were destroyed.
"It's a lot," said Eivind Tornes, who is setting up a Squamish Bear Network to find alternative ways to get bears out of neighbourhoods. "We want to get that down in a big way."
Tornes is in the process of arranging phones and volunteers who will go to homes with bear complaints and either get the bear to leave, or find out why the bear was in the neighbourhood in the first place.
He said the way you talk and behave towards the bear will convince it to leave.
"It's understanding the bear," he said. "The bear is just doing normal bear behaviour."
He said people have a false impression about bears.
"I can see that people are afraid of bears because they don't know bears," Tornes said. "Bears are not aggressive by nature."
People aren't getting the message that garbage doesn't belong outdoors.
"I'm still seeing a lot of people leaving garbage out," said Doyle, who goes into neighbourhoods where there was a complaint and finds the bear in the garbage.
The shortage of natural food has forced the bears down from the highlands and into residential neighbourhoods in search of dinner.
Doyle said garbage has to be put in sheds or garages - and animal-proof garbage cans won't cut it."Animal-proof is meant for raccoons, not bears," he said.
"Bears won't stick around if there's nothing to eat."
In Furry Creek, zero bears have been killed because there is no curbside garbage pickup, and all the garbage is brought to a central location, Tornes said.
"If the community is good with garbage you don't have a problem with bears."
Anyone who wants to volunteer with the bear network can call Tornes at 604-898-4814.