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Boreal Community Media

Help Smokey Bear Celebrate 75 Years

Apr 30, 2019 10:42AM ● By Editor

DULUTH, Minn. (April 30, 2019)  Superior National Forest invites everyone to help celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th anniversary of successful wildfire prevention messaging! Though Smokey’s message has evolved through the years to reflect the severity of wildfires and a change in fire management policy, his call to take personal responsibility when it comes to wildfire prevention has endured.

 In 1944, Smokey Bear first appeared on a Forest Fire Prevention Poster pouring water on an escaped campfire stating, “Smokey Says - Care will prevent 9 out of 10 fires.” His famous catch phrase, “Only YOU can Prevent Forest Fires” was introduced three years later.

Smokey’s message changed in 2001 to “Only You can Prevent Wildfires” to reflect the Forest Service’s change in approach to fire from fire control to fire management. Modern fire management focuses on effective and appropriate response to fire in the forest. It also considers that some fire is essential to maintaining the health of many forest ecosystems, including those in northeast Minnesota.

Today, wildland fire managers speak about the right fire in the right place at the right time. This involves strategically managing a wildfire, as well as use of prescribed fire. Prescribed fire is defined as fire ignited by management actions to meet specific objectives. It’s an effective tool that helps regenerate forest stands, reduce fuels, and maintain or improve habitat essential to sustain native plants and animals. Planning for a prescribed burn begins months or years in advance. It involves creation of a prescribed fire plan, establishing control measures, public notification, and mitigation measures.

Fire as a management tool is part of the Superior National Forest’s holistic approach to restore and maintain a healthy forest. It involves collaboration across the landscape with federal, tribal, state, local governments, non-government organizations, and private landowners. Special authorizations and funds provided through the Farm Bill, stewardship contracts, Joint Chief’s Projects, and the Good Neighbor Authority support the “all hands, all lands” approach.

Superior National Forest works with the Minnesota Interagency Coordination Center and Minnesota Forest Resource Council and many other partners to coordinate forest management projects as well as invest in training and equipment to help reduce the potential for, and damage from, unwanted wildfire. And, we need your help!

How can you help? Learn about and get involved in local Firewise and Fire Adapted Community Programs .Support local projects that improve forest health. Stay informed and follow official notifications. And, of course, be careful with all outdoor fire and observe all fire restrictions. Let’s help Smokey celebrate a successful 75th year.  Wish him ‘Happy Birthday’ when you see him and be mindful of wildfire prevention. 

Superior National Forest managers are prepared to complete several prescribed fires in locations across the Forest when conditions become favorable this season.  Details will be posted on our web site along with other information about forest management activities at (See the quick link). Notifications regarding active fires are posted on www.Inciweb. You may also follow the Forest’s twitter (@SuperiorNF) or Facebook (U.S. Forest Service Superior National Forest).

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