FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, AUG. 9, 2011
||Brian Haines, public information officer
N.C. Forest Service
Smokey Bear celebrates his 67th birthday
Commissioner Troxler wishes Smokey Bear a happy birthday at the
Ag Building in Downtown Raleigh. (Click on photo for high resolution version)
RALEIGH – Smokey Bear knows that the potential for wildfires is always present, so even as he celebrates his 67th birthday today, he is still working hard to get the message out that “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.”
Smokey Bear has been a symbol of fire safety and fire prevention since 1944. The purpose of the Smokey campaign is to create and maintain public awareness about the need to prevent wildfires.
“This has been an especially active fire season, and N.C. Forest Service crews continue to mop up and monitor more than 40 wildfires in the eastern portion of the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Typically, we have two fire seasons in North Carolina – March to the end of May and September to mid-October – but this year there has been no real break between the seasons.”
North Carolina has 18.7 million acres of forestland, making it one of Smokey Bear’s biggest concerns, especially during this extended dry period the state has been going through. As fall fire season approaches, the likelihood of wildfires occurring increases exponentially.
“It is important that everyone is particularly mindful about potential wildfire risks and be careful when burning as we enter fall,” said Wib Owen, N.C. state forester. “Just three of the fires we have been working on burned a total of more than 81,500 acres. Let’s all do our part to prevent any more devastating fires.”