forest fires

Preventing Fires: It’s Up to Us

Unless you’re living completely off the grid (and if you were, you wouldn’t be reading this), you’ve heard about the recent fires that have destroyed hundreds of homes and taken far too many lives.  For more than 70 years, Smokey Bear has been telling us about how to prevent forest fires. Clearly we need to be paying more attention.

If you live in an area where there are hiking trails, camping, and other outdoor activities, you’re bound to see campfires and charcoal grills lighting up the trails. It’s a fun and nostalgic time of year, cooking s’mores over the fire, roasting hot dogs, or warming up your cold fingers and toes. But there is a darker side to campfires that many people don’t think about.


The sad truth is that nearly 9 out of 10 wildfires are still caused by humans

Although most of us don’t behave this way intentionally, every year, careless human behavior causes devastating wildfires that have a huge impact on forest, wildlife, human life, and the economy.

Common ways YOU might unintentionally start a wildfire

  • unattended debris burning
  • equipment fires such as from lawnmowers, ATVs, power equipment
  • smoking
  • unattended campfires
  • fireworks
  • carelessly discarding fireplace or BBQ ashes


Wildfires can have a shattering 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. 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.

It’s so important to understand fire safety and how to prevent wildfires. It really isn’t all that difficult to take steps that might just save a life.


Smokey Bear’s Campfire Safety Guide

How to Pick Your Spot
Here are steps for picking your burning site to promote wildfire safety.

How to Build and/or Prepare Your Campfire Pit
Before you start your campfire, you need to prepare and arrange an appropriate pit.

How to Build Your Campfire
If you find a good pit at your campsite, it’s time to safely build your campfire!

How to Maintain and Extinguish Your Campfire
Safety doesn’t end when the fire’s lit. Learn how to safely maintain and put out your campfire here.


How else can you help? 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.

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.
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