Create a Smokey Bear Jack O’Lantern

Smokey Pumpkin(We first ran this October 6, 2009.)

Would you like to have Smokey Bear looking out at your trick or treaters from a Halloween Jack O’Lantern?  Here’s how, thanks to the Virginia Department of Forestry:

Print this stencil, which looks like this, below:

Smokey Bear stencil

Then:

Option #1

  1. Cut out the “black pieces” from the stencil sheet, using an x-acto knife or similar tool.
  2. Tape stencil sheet onto pumpkin.
  3. Use a fine-line marker and draw the image ‘through the holes” onto the pumpkin.
  4. Cut these pieces away from the pumpkin.

Or, Option #2

  1. Tape the stencil onto the pumpkin.
  2. Using a pin or other sharp tipped tool “pin-prick” the edge of all the black portions of the stencil.
  3. Remove the stencil, and connect the dots/pin-pricks with a marker.
  4. Cut these pieces away from the pumpkin.

And,
5. Send us a photo of your result.

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Wildfire briefing, August 24, 2014

U.S. Forest Service on hauling firefighters in cargo trucks

We asked the USFS to comment on the California National Guard’s practice of hauling their firefighting troops in the back of cargo trucks, which we wrote about earlier.

National Guard troops In cargo truck

National Guard troops in cargo truck in Yreka, California, August 14, 2014.

A spokesperson for the agency, Mike Ferris, said:

This is not an activity that the Forest Service practices. The California National Guard was deployed on three different incidents in Northern California: Little Deer; Log; and Lodge fires. National Guard resources were ordered and managed by Cal Fire.

When we asked if the USFS was concerned about firefighters being injured if there was a truck rollover or another type of accident, Mr. Ferris said:

Firefighter and public safety are the top priorities in wildfire management. Safety Officers at large fire incidents identify and address known risks and implement mitigations consistent with incident objectives.

We offered the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) an opportunity to weigh in on the issue, but they declined.

Florida motorists warned about wildfire smoke

Smoke from a wildfire has prompted the Florida Highway Patrol to issue a warning for motorists in St. Johns County. The agency issued a Travel Advisory for travel on Interstate 95 south of International Golf Parkway.

Smoke from a wildfire nearby might affect roadways. Visibility may deteriorate quickly due to smoke or fog-type conditions especially during the evening and early morning hours. Motorists should reduce their speed as necessary to avoid a collision, and use their low-beam headlights in order to adapt to the changing weather conditions, according to the highway patrol.

Efforts continue to pass wildfire funding bill

In spite of several failed attempts over the last several months to pass a bill that would fully fund wildfires in a manner similar to other natural disasters, some senators and representatives in Idaho and Oregon have not given up.

Below is an excerpt from an article in the Spokesman-Review:

…The House version of the bill has 131 co-sponsors, including Idaho 1st District GOP Rep. Raul Labrador. The Senate version has 18 co-sponsors including [Idaho Senator Jim] Risch.

In the House, “Some folks are concerned about changing the spending matrix, primarily Paul Ryan, head of the budget committee,” [Idaho Senator Mike Crapo's press secretary Lindsay] Nothern said. “We did go out and get a CBO report that showed it is budget-neutral, because we already spend disaster money on disasters such as this.”

He added, “There is support for it among leadership in both the Senate and the House, on both sides of the aisle.” But on its first attempt at passage, Nothern said, the proposal got lumped in with other issues including the president’s border proposal, and it didn’t pass. “We are hoping for a stand-alone bill, and then the only opposition we have is Ryan.”

The Onion’s parody kills off Smokey Bear

The Onion, a parody website, is “reporting” that the “U.S. Forest Service Kills Off Smokey Bear To Get People Serious About Fire Safety”. The images in the video of the iconic bear being killed may not be suitable for children.

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Wildfire one liners, August 20, 2014

Inyo Hotshots

Inyo Hotshots. USFS photo.

New Hotshot crew: The USFS Forest Service has announced that there is a new Interagency Hotshot Crew on the Inyo National Forest in California.

Foreign aid to Washington: A group of volunteers from Israel is helping residents of Pateros, Washington recover from a devastating wildfire.

How will British Columbia pay for wildfires: While the United States is struggling to make decisions about how to pay for the rising costs of wildfires, British Columbia has similar issues.

Smokey Bear to be Grand Marshall: Smokey Bear will be the Grand Marshall of the New Mexico State Fair parade on September 13 in Albuquerque, in honor of his 70th birthday celebration. September 19 will be Firefighter and Smokey Bear Day at the fair.

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Wildfire briefing, July 29, 2014

Congress fails to act on wildfire funding

Dollar SignCongress still has not taken action on the President’s request for $615 million to be put into a fund to pay for wildfires. Having this money up front could prevent the federal land management agencies from being forced to rob money from unrelated accounts in order to pay firefighting bills. And with their 5-week vacation beginning on July 31, it is unlikely our elected representatives will do anything before the second week in September at the earliest.

Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said, “The [land management] agencies have a big pile of money already. I don’t think there’s an urgency on the money part.”

Looking for information about Washington fires

Greg Baron wrote an interesting piece for Emergency Management about trying to find information for a client who wanted to provide assistance with reconstruction related to the wildfires in Washington. After searching online, here is a portion of his findings. The rest are here:

1. There is no JIC [Joint Information Center]. The Washington fires are involving at least two counties (Okanagan and Chelan) and numerous small towns including Pateros, Carlton, Brewster, Twisp and Winthrop. But there is no one single source of up-to-date and reliable information. Complicating that is there are a couple of different major fires with different names: Carleton Complex (or Carlton Complex as there is no consistency) and Chiwaukum Complex (try and remember that name, let alone how to spell it).

2. The best source was this blog site: http://carltoncomplex.blogspot.com/. But there are some issues: Who is behind it? The information only said that it is published by “Carlton Complex.” How can we know if it is official (as it says) or reliable if you don’t identify yourself? The site itself is very nicely presented and of the many I looked at, easiest to find what you are looking for (except if you are looking to offer services). I really like the listing of other sources with links, the Twitter feed on the front page, the integration with other social media, the map, the rolling updates from news media — there’s lots to like here. I also really like that you can sign up for email updates; I just signed up so can’t say how they are doing with that but I think this is something that is often missed. I also really like the Spanish language emphasis, which is evident in several sites — a reality given the percentage of Hispanic population in this area.

3. InciWeb doesn’t cut it. InciWeb provided by the U.S. Forest Service has been a primary Web tool for the agency for fires, but I always hear of difficulties. I suspect the blog referred to above is run by the U.S. Forest Service and may be to replace InciWeb as there is counter-linking.

Cost of Washington wildfires

Officials in Washington estimate that the cost of suppressing wildfires in their state so far this year as been $50 million. About half of that went to the Carlton Complex fire, at a cost of over $23 million. These figures do not include loss of property or damage to infrastructure. The Carlton Complex burned about 300 homes and heavily damaged the power grid in the Methow Valley.

Public service announcements featuring Disney’s movie, Planes: Fire & Rescue

Planes and Smokey

Disney is joining the Ad Council, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Association of State Foresters  to launch a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) featuring scenes and characters from Disneytoon Studios’ animated film Planes: Fire & Rescue. The PSAs are an extension of the Wildfire Prevention PSA campaign, featuring the iconic Smokey Bear, who celebrates his 70th birthday this summer. For more information on Smokey Bear and the Wildfire Prevention campaign visit: www.SmokeyBear.com.

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Smokey Bear turns 70, gives out hugs

Today in honor of Smokey Bear’s 70th year the Ad Council released two new public service announcements. The concept in the video above, Smokey being horrified by the flames from 70 candles on his birthday cake, was developed from suggestions by Brigham Young University students. 

The video below shows Smokey hugging someone who prevented the safety chains on his trailer from dragging the ground and creating dangerous sparks.

Here are some interesting facts found in an article at the Orlando Sentinel:

  • A 1952 anthem celebrated “Smokey the Bear” and stirred a debate that lasted several decades. To maintain the proper rhythm in the song, the writers added “the” to the name, etching Smokey the Bear into the public psyche. But his name always was, and still is, Smokey Bear.
  • The venerable Chicago ad agency Foote, Cone & Belding has represented Smokey Bear on a pro bono basis since he was a cub. As a public service, executives in the agency’s Los Angeles office now volunteer their time to produce ads featuring the bear.
  • Federal law places tight restrictions on how Smokey Bear can be used and what he can say. He is allowed to utter just one line: “Only you can prevent wildfires.” For 54 years, Smokey said: “Only you can prevent forest fires.” The line was modified in 2001 to recognize the danger near more urban areas to “Only you can prevent wildfires.”
  • [In the new ad campaign,] Smokey Bear also took on a softer image. He doesn’t growl as much, and now he gives out bearhugs.”The bearhug campaign is refreshing the brand, and making him seem more lovable — and more relevant,” FCB’s Springer said. “We didn’t want him to be mad at mankind for starting forest fires.”

In an acknowledgment of the digital age, Smokey is now on Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. And of course he has a webpage, and even his own Zip Code, 20252.

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