Enjoying the great outdoors safely

Robert Hudson Westover
Office of Communication
July 2nd, 2020 at 1:00PM
The Be Outdoor Safe awareness campaign is focused on being safe during Covid-19 and especially on wildland fire prevention.
The Be Outdoor Safe awareness campaign is focused on being safe during Covid-19 and especially on wildland fire prevention. (Ad Council graphic used by permission.)

With safety on the minds of so many, the USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council launched the Be Outdoor Safe public service advertising (PSA) campaign to help Americans recreate safely and responsibly outdoors.

The PSAs encourage viewers to visit the BeOutdoorSafe.org website to learn more about wildfire prevention and safe recreation tips for families and individuals to keep in mind while enjoying public lands or their own backyards for that matter.

Some of the safety tips include checking for park and trail closures, packing soap or hand sanitizer and confirming that the destination park or trail offers enough space for social distancing.

BeOutdoorSafe.org also highlights the ways we can all help prevent wildfires while recreating, including by following fire restrictions, properly extinguishing campfires and avoiding parking on tall, dry grass – even if the parking lot is full.

During summer, the most intense time during fire season, the message of safe recreating is even that much more important. If your local regulations allow for campfires, remember to never leave your campfire unattended and always properly extinguish it by drowning it with water, stirring it with a shovel, drowning again and then feeling with the back of your hand slightly above the coals to test if it’s still warm and if it is, do the process again.

One careless action by an individual, like flicking a lit cigarette out of a car window or even a single spark from dragging chains on pavement can ignite a wildland fire that can burn for days or weeks and destroy for a generation the forests and grasslands we all want to protect.

What most of us know is that being outdoors can do wonders for our physical and mental health. But enjoying the millions of acres of wildlands open to the public requires responsible behavior on everyone’s part. The Be Outdoor Safe campaign want us to remember that we all have an important role to play when it comes to keeping our safe places safe—for everyone. Be safe out there.