A bear hug from Smokey

If you see a bear in the woods, do you expect a hug?

A new ad campaign features Smokey Bear offering positive reinforcement rather than stern warnings to the humans he encounters in the woods. Since most wildfires are caused by humans, the big guy still has a  lot of work to do.

Smokey Bear

(scientificamerican.com)

The ads are a product of the Ad Council, in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

“As he approaches his seventieth birthday, Smokey remains the country’s renowned and beloved ‘spokesbear’ for fire prevention,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “We are confident that these new PSAs will use ‘bear hugs’ to enlighten a whole new generation of Americans on the critical importance of preventing wildfires.”

You can also follow Smokey Bear on Twitter.

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One thought on “A bear hug from Smokey

  1. Smokey the Bear is responsible for the “mega-fires” we have today, at least in part.

    For about 100 years, we’ve had a no wildfires policy, and we’ve been very good at suppressing them. My state has fire lookout cabins on a lot of high mountain peaks, these aren’t used anymore because satellites do a much better job of it, but they were very important in their day. When a fire broke out, it was put out. But fires are natural and have their place. And the law of unintended consequences is a *****.

    Because we’ve done such a good job at stopping most wildfires for so long, a few things have happened. The “fuel load” in the forests has built up to dangerous levels. Instead of small fires clearing out the brush and the dead trees, these are left behind to help the very large fires (like the one that recently took the lives of 19 firefighters) burn out of control. Also, many trees are good at resisting fire, while others are not. It used to be that small lightning-triggered fires would burn regularly, and help the fire-resistant trees compete. But they’ve lost this competitive edge, and now there are more trees in the western forests that burn like paper.

    Of course some of the blame lies elsewhere. Pine beetles killing trees, for instance, the hotter and dryer summers in the west, etc.

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