Fire Safety & Prevention

Anyone who has felt the warmth of a fire and enjoyed its friendly light knows that fire is not always a devastating blaze. Our ancestors considered fire, along with air, water and earth, a basic element. Long ago they learned to use and control fire. It was, perhaps, their first tool.

Most people are careful with fire. They build their fires in the right places and at the right time. They keep them the proper size and put them out before leaving them.

But forest fires raging out of control - wildfires - are an awesome and terrifying sight. The damage they do is appalling and this wasteful burning goes on year after year. The best way to keep forest fire damage low is to keep forest fires from getting started.

For more information contact your local Forest Service Office.

Smokey Marches On

Smokey the bear giving a thumbs up from inside a pickup truckOn the day of August 9, 1944 a poster debuted, courtesy of the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Campaign and renowned illustrator Albert Staehle.  People far and wide were introduced to a figure and icon whose name and message reverberate today - Smokey Bear. Read the entire story.

Read more Fire and Fire Prevention Stories

Essential Wildfire Prevention Information


  • Check local fire restrictions.
  • Clear an area of anything flammable. Look out for overhead Hazards. Do not burn if it is windy.
  • Create a pit by digging 18" deep into the soil free of vegetation. Pile up rocks to keep the wind out and the fire embers in. Use approved fire pits when available.
  • Fully extinguish campfires. Bring buckets of water and shovels to quickly extinguish any fires. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.
  • Never leave a fire unattended. It’s against the law and you will be held liable for damages.


  • Shoot in areas free of vegetation and rocks. Dirt and sand are best.
  • Exploding Targets are illegal on National Forest System lands in the Intermountain Region. Explosions emit hot gases that can ignite the surrounding vegetation.
  • Use safe targets. Shooting steel or rock may throw sparks and hot fragments.
  • Incendiary or tracer rounds ammunition that “burns” can easily ignite dry vegetation. Steel core and full metal jacket rounds have the highest potential to start wildfires.
  • Be prepared to put out any accidental fires.


  • Use string, not bladed, trimmers to cut tall grass.
  • Use grinders, welders, and similar tools in an enclosed, paved area.
  • Do not park or drive over dry vegetation. Stay on designed trails.
  • Maintain spark arrestors and know how to clean and maintain gas powered equipment.
  • Be prepared to put out any accidental fires.


  • Dragging chains will throw sparks.
  • Do not park or drive over dry vegetation. Stay on designated trails
  • Make sure nothing is hanging and dragging on the road or trail.
  • Worn breaks result in metal to metal contact throwing sparks. Do a quick check up on your vehicle before your adventure.