Right now, at the time I am writing this, there are thousands of acres of wilderness burning to the ground due to wildfires across 7 different states. While some of them are caused by nature, things like lightning strikes, more of them are caused by the carelessness or accidents of humans.
It is so important to understand the safety and prevention of wildfires. They are damaging not only to the forest but can also be damaging to any homes and structures around them as well. It really isn’t all that difficult to take steps to ensure that you are doing what it takes to prevent a wildfire.
We have to be SMART and take preventative action any time we are going to be outside! And while we all know that matches, burning cigarettes, and abandoned campfires are all potential threats for wildfire – there are MANY lesser known causes. Ones that you might be participating in and not even realize it.
Common ways YOU could unintentionally start a wildfire
- Metal chains hanging from a moving vehicle
- Parking over tall, dry grass
- unattended debris burning
- equipment fires such as from lawnmowers, ATVs, power equipment
- unattended campfires
- carelessly discarding fireplace or BBQ ashes
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 public service advertisements (PSAs) created to help prevent wildfires nationwide by increasing awareness about less commonly known fire starts.
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.
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.