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Recently, there have been many news stories popping up about wildfires and with the California drought still being an issue we wanted to take this opportunity to focus in on ways you can practically be aware of wildfires and areas that could be prone to wildfires near you! In fact over the past year (2015) 58,916 human-caused fires (also known as preventable fires) burned over 2,000,000 acres of land! That is a lot of acreage that is impacted, animals that have lost their homes, and people who have been displaced by the damage. . . But we can reduce this number by listening to our favorite bear!

Brush fires can start from car fires like this

“Only you can prevent forest fires!” was Smokey’s original slogan from 1944. And while he still campaigns against preventable fires, what he has to say has undergone a bit of a change. Smokey now says “Only you can prevent wildfires!” One of the reasons for the change is that many of the fires which occur are not “forests” that are burning but are large land areas which are open and can be impacted by carelessness when it comes to camping or use of machines or tools. Wild is a much larger term than forests and it encompasses a range of ecosystems and animals that were not included in the previous slogan. In fact, these wild areas can even come up against our neighborhoods. . .  they are not just National Parks far away in remote areas!

Smoke can be seen from a distant fire

The campaign against wild fires began in 1944 after Bambi was originally used in efforts to raise awareness about our role in helping prevent fires. Even today Smokey’s message is relevant as the National Forest Services say, “Though he has already accomplished so much, Smokey’s work is far from over. Wildfire prevention remains crucial, and he still needs your help. His catchphrase reflects your responsibility: Only you can prevent wildfires. Remember that this phrase is so much more than just a slogan: it’s an important way to care for the world around you.”

Some Tips and Tricks:


Backyard Safety:


Smokey’s Fun for the Whole Family

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