By Ann McCreary

Cinder, the black bear that was badly burned in the 2014 Carlton Complex Fire, spent her second year in forests north of Leavenworth and is now denned up for the winter not far from the site where she was released in June 2015.

“She is still out there and denned up OK, just like all the other collared bears,” said Rich Beausoleil, cougar and bear specialist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“She is still in the general area of the release,” Beausoleil said.

Cinder was rescued by WDFW officials in French Creek in August 2014, about two weeks after the Carlton Complex swept through the valley. The bear cub was emaciated and unable to walk on severely burned paws.

She spent months in treatment at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care in California, followed by rehabilitation at Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation near Boise. After 10 months she was released about 30 miles north of Leavenworth along with another young bear from the Boise rehabilitation facility.

That bear was almost 2 years old when it was shot a few months after its release during bear hunting season in October 2015.

Cinder will turn 4 while she is hibernating. She is fitted with a GPS collar so that wildlife officials can monitor her location.

Because of her long and painful recovery and her feisty personality, Cinder has been described as a “symbol of hope” for residents of the Methow Valley in the aftermath of the Carlton Complex Fire.