Smokey Bear

Finding just the right stick to pop on a marshmallow and placing it the right distance from your fire, results in a delicious sticky mess. Camping never tasted so good. But, to get to that point, there are some safety steps that need to be met first. Smokey Bear (an American male black bear) was created in 1944 to educate against forest fires. His mission was to “promote the prevention of unwanted and unplanned outdoor fires versus prescribed fires”.

A prescribed fire is a planned fire or a controlled burn. Ninety percent of wildfires are caused by people being careless. Who better to tell you about campfire safety than Smokey Bear himself. On the site,, there are activities for children. You will find a “story maker’ and to print and design coloring pages. There is a section for educators from k-8. Educating children at an early age about fires, the positives (providing warmth and cooked food) and the negatives (forest fires and homes being lost) is a good safety measure.

Photo Credit: Evan Wise

Controlled forest fire burns renew some plant species. Wild low bush blueberries thrive after fires. Fire keeps down the pest population that attacks the blueberry fruit. There is also a renewal of native plants. Fuel build-up is also minimized. As woodlands age, trees die and litter the forest floor causing an overabundance of fuel. A campfire that wasn’t properly extinguished or a lightening strike can cause this to be a large unplanned burn.

A campfire is a great way for friends and family to get together with songs and urban legends. So see what Smokey Bear has to say. “If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.” Safety first! If you are looking for us, you will find us outside. Don’t forget to pack “wet ones” in your backpack to clean your sticky fingers. 🙂

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