If you are one to keep up with national news, you have no doubt seen the chaos and devastation that the wildfires are causing across seven different states. Thousands of acres burned, families who have lost their homes, and even people who have lost their lives. We have all heard the message of Smokey Bear–he has been telling us to prevent fires for 72 years now. His message is just as important now as it was back in 1944.
Smokey Bear’s message about wildfire prevention is the center of the longest-running and one of the most successful Public Service Announcement (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 Country. 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.
Take preventative action
We have to take preventative action, always! And while we all know that matches, burning cigarettes, and abandoned campfires are all potential threats for wildfire–there are MANY lesser known causes. Things that even you might have done without even realizing their potential. I mean, I had NO idea that parking in tall grass was a fire hazard, did you?
- 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
- Improper use or disposal of oil from a lantern
Coinciding with Smokey Bear’s 72nd birthday, the Ad Council, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), have launched a new series of PSAs to increase awareness nationwide about less commonly known fire starts.
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.
- 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 there were 58,916 human-caused wildfires that burned over two million acres.
Take the pledge and prevent wildfires
Nature, the forest, our parks and trails—these are all an immensely important part of our lives. We need to take the pledge to be smart when we go outdoors. To do everything we can to preserve our beautiful forests. Will you join me in taking the pledge? I for one want to see these incredible lands preserved for my children and for their children.