Smokey Bear Guest Post
In many areas of the country right now, from the west to the east, there are droughts. It has been so dry here lately that fire warnings are much higher than usual. That means even the smallest spark to start a fire – and even the smallest of fires can become large and do massive amounts of damage to homes and forests.
Smokey Bear’s message about wildfire prevention is the center of the longest running and one of the most successful PSA campaigns in our nation’s history. Although progress has been made, accidental, human-caused wildfires remain one of the most critical environmental issues affecting the U.S. The Soberanes fire, in California, is a perfect example. This fire was caused by an abandoned campfire.
This is devastating! Not only are people losing their homes, and their lives, so are all of the wonderful creatures of nature. Wildfires can have a devastating effect on the environment. Uncontrolled blazes fueled by weather, wind, and dry underbrush, wildfires can burn acres of land—and consume everything in their paths—in mere minutes. Not to mention, if the area you love to explore, camp, or hike is destroyed by a wildfire, you will be losing a place where you and your family build memories.
The new “Rise from the Ashes” campaign, created by the Ad Council and NASF, uses wildfire ashes as an artistic medium to illustrate the devastation caused by wildfires and highlight lesser known wildfire starts:
- Improperly extinguished fire pit
- Dumping ashes from a BBQ/grill
- Metal chains hanging from a moving vehicle
- Parking over tall, dry grass
- Dying embers left in a campfire
- Fueling lanterns
- Stoves & Heaters
- Flammable liquids for lanterns and heaters
- Cigarettes and Matches
- Burning yard waste in windy conditions
Millions of wildland acres will burn unintentionally this year. Much of it because most people are unaware of many things that can actually start a wild fire – things that most people would never think of.
When camping, take care when using and fueling lanterns, stoves, and heaters. Make sure lighting and heating devices are cool before refueling. Avoid spilling flammable liquids and store fuel away from appliances.
Do not discard cigarettes, matches, and smoking materials from moving vehicles, or anywhere on park grounds. Be certain to completely extinguish cigarettes before disposing of them.
Follow local ordinances when burning yard waste. Avoid backyard burning in windy conditions, and keep a shovel, water, and fire retardant nearby to keep fires in check. Remove all flammables from yard when burning.
Although most of us don’t behave this way intentionally, each year we learn of devastating wildfires caused by careless behavior which can impact millions of acres of forest and thousands of homes. Although four out of five wildfires are started by people, nature is usually more than happy to help fan the flames.
Right now, California, Colorado, and 5 other states are being devastated by wild fires! Please – get the word out and remind your friends and family! Share this message, your own camping tips, and fire prevention methods on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #SmokeyBearHug and #OnlyYou! And if you tag @smokey_bear on Twitter – he may just tweet you back!