Guest post by Renee Kemper of Element Associates

Smokey Bear reminds us to prevent forest wildfires

It is that time of year. That time when the leaves are changing, the ground is covered in a sheet of different shades of orange, red and brown, and the smell of campfires fills the air. Maybe you are thinking of gathering up your things in hopes for a weekend getaway in the woods. Because this is perfect weather for camping, after all. But before you head out on your journey to get away from civilization and relish nature, please remember how important it is to take care of that very nature you are about to enjoy.

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, it will ruin the very piece of nature that you are setting out to enjoy.

So before you set out on your weekend adventure to explore and enjoy nature. Please join me in taking the Smokey Bear Pledge!

Smokey Bear reminds us to take care of our forest and prevent wildfires.

I pledge to:
•  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 Bear reminds us to care for our forests and prevent wildfires.Taking a few simple steps while you are enjoying yourself can prevent so much future damage. Know what you need to do before you ever leave your house. Be prepared, be ready, and be safe!

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