Bear Spray Shuts Down Yosemite Hotel

Fire department, hazmat teams called in after Wawona Hotel guests report mysterious irritant
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Fire department, hazmat teams called in after Wawona Hotel guests report mysterious irritant

Bear spray isn't just great for fending off charging grizzlies; it's also fantastic for clearing out all the noisy neighbors in your hotel. Around noon on August 18, guests at the Wawona Hotel in Yosemite filed a report complaining of an unidentified odor spilling from a second-story room. By the time rangers and firemen arrived, they treated 12 people for respiratory difficulties, throat irritation, and nausea. Two people even threw up.

While decontaminating victims, rangers and firefighters still couldn't identify the source of the irritant, so they called in a Class A hazmat team from Mariposa County. Armed with full masks and gas detectors, they couldn't identify any type of health hazard, either. After fully investigating the grounds, they reopened the hotel to guests at 7:30 p.m. without ever figuring out the problem.

Later that evening, rangers discovered the irritant was bear spray. No details have emerged as to why someone discharged bear spray in their second-story room at the Wawona, but you see jumpy front-country tourists all over bear-country national parks wielding bear spray. The investigation continues.

I'm willing to bet money some jumpy lady from Cleveland saw her own shadow, freaked out that it was a famous Yosemite genius bear breaking into her hotel room for Chex Mix, and just pumped her whole room full of Counter Assault. Then, she masqueraded as one of the victims. A foolproof plan...

—Ted Alvarez

Wawona Hotel evacuated in hazmat incident (NPS Morning Report)