While some of these are caused by nature, like lightning strikes, more of them are caused by the carelessness or accidents of humans. We live on a clearing right in the middle of the woods – so as you can imagine, any kind of wildfire would be completely devastating to us! I can't even imagine looking out the window and seeing the woods glowing orange with fire. Or feeling the heat as it races towards me. *shudders* That's the stuff nightmares are made of!
I believe that knowledge gives us power and 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. You can't tell me it doesn't break your heart to think of all the frightened animals in the woods as a fire approaches! I know it kills me and I would hate to be the reason anyone or anything suffers through such a devastating event! After all, 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
Do you remember the Smokey Bear commercials? I remember the them from when I was a kid. He stared out at me from the television and while pointing straight at me stated "Only YOU can prevent forest fires!" What a message that sent to a younger me! Even though I was a suburbs kid and only saw the inside of a forest once a year, I still learned caution from those ads. Well, those and the free coloring books that were handed out by fire trucks at parades. I loved those books. Many year later when I moved into the woods myself, I found myself being overly cautious with my own firepit. Well, overly cautious in the eyes of my husband that is! He never understood why I would sit out until the fire was cold instead of just heading in to bed. Or check on it every 5 minutes till I finally gave up on waiting and dragged the hose out to drench it. I just had to make sure it was out or I wouldn't be able to sleep. Maybe that's why he bought me that burn cage a couple years back? Hmmm, now it all makes sense.
Any-who, 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: