Fire prevention is a combination of understanding human behavior, communicating information, educating, utilizing vegetation management techniques, enforcing laws and regulations and basic common sense.
It is the job of fire prevention personnel to work with the public to mitigate human caused fires. Although you may have heard that our present forest health and fire problems are the fault of the Smokey Bear campaign, nothing could be further from the truth. Smokey's message of preventing human caused fires is vital to maintaining social and natural integrity. The Forest Service will never promote a concept that values human carelessness. With people moving further and further into wildlands, imagine what sort of catastrophizes we would be dealing with if we left all fires unchecked and did away with fire prevention! Although fire is a natural phenomenon which we need to let back into the forest system, our forests today are not in a natural state. If we were to allow all fires to burn without intervention, we would see millions of acres of forest go up in smoke. When allowed to play its role in the forest, resources can benefit. But only under carefully controlled circumstances. It would not be normal for human carelessness to take the place of managed care.
Prevention will always be a useful tool in the fire management tool box. Prescribed burning, vegetation management, fire suppression, fire detection, fire ecology, dispatching centers- all these tools are needed to keep the fire management program and the forests we serve integrated and in tac