Guest Post from…Smokey the Bear!

October 22nd, 2011
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We’re excited to feature a guest post by…none other than…Smokey Bear!

Smokey and Governor MarkellDid you know that wildfires have burned almost 8 million acres in the United States this year? And did you know that most of these wildfires were caused by humans?

In 2010, humans caused 64,807 wildfires, while 7,164 were started by lightning.

That’s nine times as many fires due to human carelessness than any other reason!

This is why I simply can’t “bear” the fact that some people haven’t gotten the important message about wildfire prevention and fire safety.

Smokey Bear greets students at South Dover Elementary

Smokey Bear greets students at South Dover Elementary

Even though Delaware is small, almost a third of its land area (around 30 percent) is still forested. Not only do these scenic areas provide cleaner air and water, the woods are where some of my dearest friends – squirrels, raccoons, deer, and birds – make their homes.

Trees are a sustainable source of paper, building materials, medicines and other goods that make life easier and provide jobs and income for many people. But a tree lost to a needless fire is gone forever. That’s why our forests depend on us to protect them so that future generations can enjoy their many benefits.

Because October is National Fire Prevention Month (and Delaware’s forests are very beautiful this time of year!), I’m partnering with Governor Jack Markell and the Delaware Forest Service to visit first-graders in the state’s public and private elementary schools this month. I’m happy to report that I’ve met some very smart and enthusiastic students who’ve been quick to learn my “Five Rules for Fire Safety”:

  1. “Only you can prevent wildfires!”
  2. Smokey’s A-B-C’s – “Always Be Careful” with fire.
  3. Never play with matches or lighters.  If you find matches or a lighter or see a fire, tell a grown-up quickly.
  4. Always watch your campfire.
  5. Make sure your campfire is completely out before leaving it.

Last year, I visited 102 schools in Delaware and met almost 9,000 children. I cannot express how extremely happy I am when a child shakes my hand, looks me in the eye, and tells me: “Smokey, I promise to never play with matches.”

But remember, fire safety isn’t just for young people. If you’re over 13 years of age, you can take the Smokey Pledge (click here) and also sign up for a free newsletter. You can also learn about my story and find out how I got started in wildfire prevention.

Don’t forget, I’m counting on YOU.

South Dover Elementary School students listen to Henry Poole of the Delaware Forest Service talk about the importance of fire safety and wildfire prevention. The visit is part of the annual Smokey Bear educational programs for Delaware first-graders.

South Dover Elementary School students listen to Henry Poole of the Delaware Forest Service talk about the importance of fire safety and wildfire prevention. The visit is part of the annual Smokey Bear educational programs for first-graders.

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