A mother bear and her cub were electrocuted early Tuesday when they came in contact with power lines and sparked a 1.5-acre fire in Banning that raged for more than three hours.
The fire broke out at 1:46 a.m. near Bluff Street and Banning Bench.
According to Riverside County fire spokeswoman Jennifer Fuhrman, the bears climbed a power pole and “made contact with the high voltage power lines,” killing the bears and igniting the fire.
After catching fire, the bears fell into vegetation below, starting a blaze that county fire crews did not contain until just after 5 a.m.
More than five dozen firefighters responded to the blaze, along with state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials for the deceased bears.
No injuries to people were reported.