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Wildland fires can be catastrophic for forests but also for homeowners and their property.  Fires are often caused by natural factors, but by far, the largest cause of wildfires is man-related.  Learning about wildfire prevention and what you can do to help will reduce the number of fires.  Preventing forest fires is everyone’s responsibility!  The Northeast Forest Fire Protection Commission's Prevention and Education Working Team (PEWT) offers several ways to take part.  See the Prevention section for more information.



"Only You Can Prevent Wildfires" as important now as it was 75 years ago

Smokey Bear, along with U.S. Forest Service employees from Vermont, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact, participated in the Aug. 18 Red Sox 1:05 p.m. pregame celebration at Boston’s Fenway Park. This was a wonderful opportunity for Smokey to connect with the public and educate folks about wildfire prevention. It goes without saying that we are all very proud of the work that Smokey has done over the past 75 years – the best news is that he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

Since his birthday Aug. 9, 1944, Smokey Bear has been a recognized symbol of conservation and protection of America’s forests. His message about wildfire prevention has helped to reduce the number of acres lost annually to wildfires, from about 22 million (1944) to an average of 6.7 million annually today. However, wildfire prevention remains one of the most critical issues affecting our country. Many Americans believe that lightning starts most wildfires. In fact, nine out of 10 wildfires nationwide are started by humans.

Some helpful wildfire prevention tips include:

  • Always be careful with fire.
  • Douse fires with water, stir the ashes and douse again; a fire isn’t out until it’s dead out.
  • Keep flammable materials such as woodpiles, gas containers, shrubbery and home fuel sources a minimum of 30 feet away from your home.
  • Clearly identify your home with a house number; keep your roof clear of overhanging trees; and make your driveway accessible to fire emergency vehicles.
  • Help keep our forests healthy…stop the spreading of invasive insects by not moving firewood.
  • And “Remember…Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.”

Click here for the NFFPC Prevention Working team’s “shout out” for Smokey’s 75th birthday. We want to thank all the Compact members that were able to make the video shoot and Cabelas for use of their facility in Scarborough, Maine. The video production was done by WGME CH13 in Portland, Maine and funding was provided by the USDA Forest Service. If you would like to air this PSA or post it on your website, please contact Kent Nelson at

It's the Equipment Technology Working Team's turn to wish a happy 75th birthday !


Another great 75th birthday item was initiated by our friends at the Mid-Atlantic Compact. It’s a special edition insert for Highlights magazine about Smokey Bear and wildfire prevention. Click above to view it and feel free to request a few copies at the upcoming Smokey Bear Balloon events in New Hampshire (August 15, 2019) and Maine ( August 16 – 17).

Did you know that an ATV can spark a wildfire?

Spring is well underway and summer is almost here. What could be more pleasant than going for a ride in an all-terrain vehicle on a beautiful sunny day? However, have you ever considered that your outing could spark a wildfire? In fact, organic build-up adhering to the hot parts of the engine dry up when in contact with its heat and can catch fire and start a blaze simply by falling on the ground. When the weather is dry, the fire can spread very quickly indeed.

So you have to make sure that your off-road vehicle is in good working order and to clean it after each outing. It’s particularly important to check that your ATV’s muffler is in tip-top shape and to clean the dry grass and mud that stick to it.

We also suggest that you bring along a fire extinguisher, check the fire danger, and avoid going off-road in sectors where the vegetation is dry.

Furthermore, if your trail is in a sector where a fire has already raged, you must be extra cautious. Before travelling in this forest, be aware that the fire danger is not the same as in an intact forest. As a matter of fact, the dead vegetation enables the sun and wind to have a greater influence as regards the fire hazard. Therefore, in a region where the flammability hazard is “moderate,” this can rise to “extreme” in burned forests. An ATV could therefore quickly spark another blaze.

Also, if you’re a smoker, make sure to stop on a cleared surface to smoke your cigarette, then extinguish your butt, either by wetting it or crushing it on a rock, before resuming your activities.

Be a well-informed ATV enthusiast and enjoy the great outdoors while keeping safe and sound!

Saviez-vous qu’un VTT peut être la cause de l’éclosion d’un incendie de forêt ?

Le printemps est bien entamé et l’été est à nos portes. Quoi de plus agréable que de se promener en véhicule tout-terrain par une belle journée ensoleillée ? Toutefois, avez-vous déjà songé qu’un incendie de forêt pourrait éclore à la suite de votre escapade ? En effet, les amas de matière organique qui adhèrent aux parties chaudes du moteur, s’assèchent au contact de sa chaleur et peuvent s’enflammer et causer un début d’incendies en tombant sur le sol. Lorsque le temps est sec, l’incendie peut se propager très rapidement.

Il est donc essentiel de s’assurer d’avoir un véhicule hors route en bon ordre et de le nettoyer après chaque sortie. Il est particulièrement important de vérifier le bon état du silencieux de votre VTT et de nettoyer l’herbe sèche et la boue qui s’y colle.

Nous vous suggérons également d’avoir un extincteur, de consulter le danger d’incendie et d’éviter de faire du hors-piste dans les secteurs où la végétation est sèche.

Par ailleurs, si votre sentier est dans un secteur où un incendie a déjà fait rage, vous devez redoubler de prudence. Avant de circuler dans cette forêt, sachez que le danger d’incendie n’est pas le même que dans la forêt verte. En effet, la végétation morte permet au soleil et au vent d’avoir une plus grande influence sur le danger d’incendie. Ainsi, dans une région où le danger d’inflammabilité indique modéré, ce dernier peut monter jusqu’à extrême dans les forêts brulées. Un VTT pourrait donc rapidement allumer un autre incendie.

Aussi, si vous êtes fumeurs, immobilisez-vous sur une surface dégagée pour fumer votre cigarette puis éteindre votre mégot, que ce soit en la mouillant ou en l’écrasant sur une roche, avant de reprendre vos activités.

Soyez un quadiste averti et profitez du plein air de manière sécuritaire !