SLO County Roundup

San Luis Obispo

A large bear was reported wandering around the creek area in San Luis Obispo on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

Police were called about a bear sighting in the area of Marsh Street around California Boulevard about 10:20 p.m. Wednesday, according to a news release.

Officers went to the area and confirmed that a black bear weighing about 200 to 250 pounds was ambling around, mostly in the creek area between Pacific and Marsh streets and Santa Rosa and Toro streets.

Officers were able to stop the bear from heading closer to downtown, according to the news release, and the bear was eventually driven northeast along the creek toward a more rural area.

Around 6 a.m. Thursday, another bear sighting was reported in the area of Spring Court and Flora Street. The bear was reportedly heading toward the backyard of a home that backs up against a large open space area, according to police.

The bear did not seem overly aggressive, police said, warning that bears can be unpredictable if startled. If you spot a bear, San Luis Obispo police ask that you call 911 and get to a safe area.

— Tribune staff report

SLO County

Monday marks the end of the 2010 fire season, Cal Fire announced Thursday.

As a result, Cal Fire will reduce the staffing of its wildland fire crews.

The agency, which contracts with the county for fire protection, also announced in a news release that the open-burn season will resume Monday. The burn season typically runs from the end of fire season through April.

Property owners can get permits to burn excess yard trimmings, and farmers can burn piles of agricultural waste. Permits are granted by the county Air Pollution Control District.

Backyard burning can only be done at residential properties outside of urban and village reserve lines on designated burn days.

For more details about backyard burning, contact the APCD’s compliance division at 781-5912, or visit www.slocleanair.org.

— Tad Weber

Santa Margarita

The county Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue teams will hold an annual Operational Readiness Drill on Saturday at Santa Margarita Ranch.

About 65 to 70 volunteers will be involved in this year’s drill, including the Search and Rescue unit, the Aero Squadron and the Posse, which is made up of volunteers on horseback.

Staging for the drill starts at 7 a.m., and the drill begins about 9:30 a.m. It is the unit’s largest drill of the year and a chance for the volunteers to work on cooperation, communications and coordination, said Sgt. Mark Maki, search and rescue coordinator.

The drill will test volunteers’ training as well as determine whether they have the appropriate and properly maintained equipment, Maki said.

About a half dozen volunteers have been working for several months to organize a large-scale, realistic situation, such as an earthquake, wildfire or train derailment.

— Cynthia Lambert