- Associated Press - Monday, June 23, 2014

SILVER CITY, N.M. (AP) - Officials on the Gila National Forest are warning visitors of increased black bear activity in southwestern New Mexico.

They say activity is on the rise due to the continuing hot and dry conditions across the Gila. As drought persists, they say black bears will be in search of food and water.

Homeowners and forest visitors have been seeing an increasing number of black bears in close proximity to their property or within recreation areas.

Forest officials say all food should be properly stored and garbage should be disposed of in a secure manner. Visitors should also be aware of their surroundings and able to recognize signs of bear activity, such as scat and claw marks on trees.

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