Steve Kendall took the photo Wednesday night while on a boat with a friend in Two Rivers Arm.
Kendall said the bear was heading towards the shoreline, trying to escape the Dog Mountain wildfire on Sproat Lake, and he felt bad for it.
"There's only one narrow roadway out of that area," Kendall told CBC News.
"It's just a matter of time before that entire peninsula is burnt."
Facebook user Mark Garrison called it a "heartbreaking photo," while Fran Ferguson commented, "Poor guy he is so stressed and scared wish we could get him and other wildlife to safety."
The Dog Mountain wildfire on Sproat Lake started last Saturday and by Thursday afternoon was still considered an active fire, estimated at 400 hectares.
According to B.C. wildfire officials, the "fire is surrounded by steep terrain on all sides and is now burning as a moderate intensity ground fire. While the occasional tree may ignite, it is not burning as a crown fire that is spreading flame from tree to tree."
Officials suspect the fire was caused by humans.
"Many sections of the fire are too steep for crews to work safely or effectively."