Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bring Back Smokey The Bear

Remember him? You have to remember Smokey, the big brown bear in a Ranger's hat that said in a friendly, firm voice "Remember, only YOU can prevent forest fires!" I used to think "Wow,that's a huge responsibility for a little kid. I'm the ONLY ONE who can stop and prevent forest fires? Really? I better get crackin'! Where's my bucket of water?!?"

Of course, all of those public service announcements good ole' Smokey would put on worked. I still remember fire safety rules, and follow them. Our elementary schools just had their fire safety days in the past couple of weeks, so Juliana and Grace both came home with fire safety materials and those cute plastic red fire-fighter hats. They got to see real fire-fighters, who talked about fire safety of course, and real fire engines. It's a great program. And yet, it was lacking somehow. I was surprised that there wasn't anything from Smokey in their packets.

I know he's still out there. When I went to New Hampshire for my Moms Away weekend, we were driving home on the Kankamangus Hwy, and there were Smokey the Bear signs up near camp ground entrances and sight-seeing picnic areas and hiking trails. Other than that, I might see one or two PSA's a year, if that, with Smokey.

And then today, I found this article:

Boy confesses to starting California fire
Wed Oct 31, 7:49 AM ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A boy playing with matches has confessed to starting a wildfire that destroyed 63 structures near Los Angeles, officials said on Tuesday.

The unidentified youngster, believed to be a preteen, was questioned by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigators on October 22, a day after the Buckweed fire started rampaging across 38,000 acres in the Santa Clarita area, 30 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.

The boy "admitted that he had been playing with matches," said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

It was initially believed that downed power lines had started the fire.

The boy was sent home after confessing, and the District Attorney's office will consider whether to press charges.

The Buckweed fire was one of about two-dozen conflagrations that ravaged southern California last week, destroying 2,300 buildings, according to the California Office of Emergency Services. The fires have been responsible for 12 deaths and 78 injuries.

Arson is being blamed for a blaze that has destroyed 15 homes in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, and a reward of $250,000 has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever started the fire.

We need Smokey back, and we need him now.

1 comment:

Dreen Pie said...

firstly I wonder how old this child is, secondly, I loved Smokey. I live in southern California where there isn't a forest in sight so when I saw those psa's I thought this only pertained to some area in south America or something.
How very sad that a child was responsible for such damage.