Smokey Bear celebrates his birthday with friends and fire prevention
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Smokey Bear started out as a cartoon campaign in the 1940′s.
In the 1950′s, after a bear cub survived a large forest fire in New Mexico, the US Forest Service helped turn the “Smokey” bear cub into a legend, becoming a fire fighting icon 78 years later.
This year, Smokey Bear is working with Wyoming Fire Prevention agencies to continue his good work a day before his birthday on Tuesday.
Standing in front of one of Wyoming Air National Guard’s gigantic C-130s used for fire prevention, authorities say Wyoming has been fortunate this fire season thanks to the rain.
Unfortunately, Wyoming has still had fires by Laramie Peak and Sundance, which investigators say were human-caused.
”Asking people to be careful with their campfires. Enjoying public lands and having fun while they’re camping. But also just being careful,” said Carmen Thomason, Fire Mitigation Special -BLM.
This comes after one of the worst fire seasons last year, according to officials, who says western states like northern California and Colorado tend to be hot spots for Modular Aerial Fire Fighting systems of MAFFS teams.
”Fire season is ramping up in those areas. We have been placed on a heightened state of alert if you will..Readiness...Where we can get a call today and we can be in place on Wednesday or Thursday,” said Maj. Chris Valine- MAFFS Program Manger 153D Airwing WY. Air National Guard.
August 9th marks Smokey Bear’s 78th birthday; as part of multiple decades-long campaigns, Smokey helped bring awareness to forest fire prevention.
To manage fire season, the Bureau of Land Management works with multiple agencies like the Wyoming Air National Guard and the MAFFS team to stop forest fires.
”So between the air guard and the public land agencies we’re really very lucky to have each other and work together,” said Thomason.
Officials say that the high precipitation this year has significantly slowed down this year’s fire season, but Smokey Bear says only you can stop forest fires, so be careful when you’re out there.
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