Fall is our favorite time for outdoor activities. We love to camp and hike. We also love to build fires. We might be in the back yard, camping, hiking, on the river, or even in our own living room – no matter where it is, a fire is nostalgic to us this time of year. One thing that is super important to us as parents is to teach our kids the importance of fire safety. And I don’t mean being safe around the fire, I mean being safe WITH the fire.
I am sure if you are old enough – I may be aging myself here – that you remember the Smokey The Bear campaigns that came through the schools. You know the ones, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires.” Catchy, right? Well, believe it or not, Smokey the Bear has not only been around since 1940, but he has not gone anywhere. He is still in the hearts and minds of kids and adults everywhere. That catchy slogan helps us to remember to be safe and smart when we are building fires.
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 2014 more than 3.5 million acres burned due to wildfires in the U.S. of those, more than 1.5 million acres burned due to human-caused wildfires.
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.
So before you set out on your weekend adventure to explore and enjoy nature. Please join me in taking the Smokey Bear Pledge!
I pledge to:
BE SMART WHENEVER I GO OUTDOORS
- 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.
I challenge you to join me in spreading the word to prevent wildfires! Share with your friends, family and colleagues. Challenge them to take the pledge as well.
- How many of these can you get right? Let me know and maybe you’ll get a #SmokeyBearHug http://on.fb.me/1Lo94pG
- Take the Pledge to help Smokey Bear #FirePreventionMonth http://bit.ly/1ZYdZW2
- Will you help me prevent wildfires? It’s simple, take the pledge! #FirePreventionMonth http://bit.ly/1ZYdZW2
- Only YOU can prevent Wildfires! Be smart outdoors. Take the pledge! #FirePreventionMonth http://bit.ly/1ZYdZW2