Fire Prevention in the South

This site is designed for homeowners, visitors, wildfire prevention professionals, Forest Service employees and volunteers. It is filled with information on where the big fires are burning throughout the nation, what the severity level is in your state, rules and regulations for burning debris in your state, and how to protect your home against wildfire. It tells you about educational materials that are available in the arena of fire prevention, the Wildland Urban Interface, Smokey Bear, and Woodsy Owl. The history of Smokey Bear, current books about Smokey and numerous   fire prevention tips are provided. There is also a clearinghouse of information and resources for those on fire prevention teams or others who want to develop fire prevention products.

Smokey Bear and Fire Prevention Beginnings

In 1944, a fire prevention messenger, Smokey Bear, was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. The first Smokey was painted by Albert Staehle. Another artist who helped shaped Smokey’s image was Rudolph Wendelin. However, it wasn’t until 1950 that Smokey became a living legend. Firefighters found a frightened and badly burned bear cub clinging to a tree after a human-caused fire burned more than 17,000 acres in the Lincoln national Forest in New Mexico. The cub was taken to a nearby ranger station, where he was nursed back to health. It was there that he was given the name Smokey, and he became a living symbol for forest wildfire prevention.

More than 60 years later, Smokey’s job still isn’t done. Even today, 9 out of 10 wildfires are caused by people. Smokey’s program is still very important and other fire prevention programs have been developed to help educate everyone on how to prevent wildfires. This website has a Smokey Bear section that tells the true story of his life, it defines the award programs for significant accomplishments in wildfire prevention work, how to buy Smokey and Woodsy products and how to request Smokey for a school program or event.

Debris Burning and Woods Arson

76 Percent of southern wildfires are human caused, 38 percent from debris burning (burning yard waste and household trash) and 23 percent from deliberate woods arson. Other fire-causes included children playing with matches, unattended campfires, and cigarettes.

On this website you can find pages that give fire prevention techniques that you can do to reduce your chances of starting an unwanted wildfire.

The Wildland Urban Interface

To make preventing fires even more challenging today, we have homes and communities tucked in and intermixed with wildlands such as forests, grasslands, parks, mountains, and watersheds. Human-caused fires are even more likely to start when there are more people around AND wildfires in those areas are much more dangerous and difficult to put out. The opportunity to use prescribed fire as a fire prevention tool within an ecosystem and reduce fuel buildup, is greatly reduced when you have people and structures within the wildland area.

Protect Your Home and Living in the Wildland Urban Interface are pages you may want to visit for information on the Wildland Urban Interface.

The last page, Resources, provides websites for various fire agencies, state, federal and non-profit. It also provides addresses for websites that have educational resources for classroom or outdoor educational settings.