Did you feel that? It’s us coming full circle. That gif is back and better than ever. Smokey the Bear, you beautiful humanoid, we don’t deserve you. You’re so good to us, and we just won’t listen. Despite the fact that Smokey has been with us since 1944 and is certainly the most charming propaganda tool the US government will ever create, over 90% of wildfires are started by humans. What gives, humans? Treat fire with the respect it deserves. Smokey demands it.
Here are a few tips to prevent wildfires:
- Report unattended fires – If you see a fire burning without anyone around, call your local fire station. Most have a non-emergency hotline.
- Extinguish all fires – Even if a campfire, firepit, or trash fire has mostly died out, a few embers could spark a wildfire. Drown fires with water and stir until no embers remain. Don’t leave any fire unattended to burn out on its own.
- Don’t throw cigarettes – If you’re still smoking, keep your butts off the ground. Some careless people fling cigarettes from car windows, winning a crime double crown: littering and wildfire ignition. Dry grass + cigarette ember = massive wildfire.
- Keep up with fire safety alerts – Around most forests or parks, there are signs of everyone’s favorite wildfire-prevention bear telling you the fire risk for the day. If Smokey says the fire risk is high or extreme, you should NOT start a campfire that day. One day of fun around a campfire isn’t worth millions in property damage, loss of human lives, and widespread devastation.
- Don’t have gender reveal parties – Yes, you heard me. Stop starting wildfires because you just had to have a pink or blue explosion in the woods to tell the world your baby’s sex. Unborn babies and pyrotechnics should never mix.
“Gender reveal party” is almost always a misnomer. Gender is more complicated than sexual assignment. Offer your child the opportunity to have their own gender reveal party later in life (sans explosions), if they find they are not cisgendered.
Don’t be the person who disobeys Smokey the Bear. No one likes that person. Remember, “Only you can prevent wildfires!” And only you can prepare for them, so follow through on what we learned here: Create a wildfire emergency plan, put together a prep kit, get your property ready, practice your evacuation drills, and keep up with local news to be ready if a wildfire comes your way.