Reminding Americans With His Iconic Message of Wildfire Prevention, Smokey Bear is Back With a New Public Service Advertisement!

Right before July 4th , a new series of Public Service Advertisements (PSA) along with a DVD were launched. These were timed just before the national holiday to help educate people before they went on camping trips, started grilling and other outdoor activities. This new campaign was a collaboration between the Advertising Council, the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters (NASF). This new PSA is designed to give Americans information about wildfire prevention.

Smokey Bear was developed in 1944 and since his creation, he has become recognized as a symbol of the conservation and protection of America’s forests. In fact, because of his “dedication” to this cause, he has helped reduce the number of acres burned annually by wildfires. In 1944 approximately 22 million acres of forest were burned. Today, that number has been reduced to an average of 6.5 million.

Contrary to popular belief, most forest fires are started by people and not lightning. In fact, the average rate of wildfires started by people is a startling 9 out of 10. Many of the causes include some of the normal culprits; unattended campfires, burning trash on windy days, discarding smoking materials carelessly, grilling coals, and operating equipment without spark arrestors.

Jim Hubbard, USDA Forest Service Deputy Chief for State & Private Forestry, states, “’Get Your Smokey On’ is a call for each of us to be responsible whenever we use fire.” Our responsibility is necessary to help reduce the number of wildfires started every year by people. Currently, that number is still a staggering 70,000. This shows that wildfire prevention education is needed today more than ever.

Included with the PSA a DVD was created to assist teachers and other educators in teaching the Smokey Bear message. The DVD was created using 3D computer animation video of a day in the forest with Smokey Bear and is available in English and Spanish. Along with the video, there are activities, curriculum and activities for educators.

Below is the Video

You can go to www.smokeybear.com and take a pledge promising that you will assist Smokey Bear in preventing wildfires. You can also “friend” Smokey Bear on Facebook, MySpace, view him on YouTube and other social media websites.

Smokey Bear may be an iconic figure in America, but his image must constantly be updated. Peggy Conlon, President and CEO of the Ad Council reveals, “Through social media and by leveraging the latest technologies we have new and effective ways to engage another generation in understanding their role in wildfire prevention.”

I am glad to see that Smokey Bear can still be effective in saving our national, state and local forests. I have pledged and I challenge you to “Get Your Smokey On”.

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