Have you seen the devastating images on the web or on the news? The ones of burning wilderness, burning homes, and injured animals? It’s awful. And it is largely preventable.
In 2014 there were 7,933 wildfires caused by lightning, but 55,679 wildfires caused by human error (as reported to the National Interagency Fire Center).
In 2015 58,916 human-caused wildfires burned over 2 million acres.
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. By someone being careless and not thinking about the consequences.
Common and Uncommon ways YOU could unintentionally start a wildfire
- Metal chains hanging from a moving vehicle
- Parking over tall, dry grassunattended debris burning
- equipment fires such as from lawnmowers, ATVs, power equipment
- unattended campfires
- carelessly discarding fireplace or BBQ ashes
I had the pleasure of hosting Smokey’s 70th birthday – and he will have many many more birthdays to come. Although progress has been made, accidental, human-caused wildfires remain one of the most critical environmental issues affecting the U.S. Smokey’s message is as relevant today as it was in 1944 and he continues to have an incredible impact on our country.
How else can you help? Be smart when you go outdoors! Show your commitment to wildfire prevention. Join me in taking the Smokey Bear Pledge!
- To use caution and common sense before lighting any fire.
- To understand that any fire I or my friends create could become a wildfire.
- To understand and practice proper guidelines whenever I or my friends create a fire outdoors.
- To never, ever leave any fire unattended.
- To make sure any fire that I or my friends create is properly and completely extinguished before moving on.
- To properly extinguish and discard of smoking materials.
- To be aware of my surroundings and be careful when operating equipment during periods of dry or hot weather.
- To speak up and step in when I see someone in danger of starting a wildfire.
Smokey’s newest “Rise from the Ashes” campaign uses wildfire ashes as an artistic medium to illustrate the devastation caused by wildfires and highlight lesser known wildfire starts.
Right now, California and Colorado 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!