Smokey’s Hat is Focus of New Awareness Campaign Kicking off Wildfire Awareness Month

Posted on April 27, 2023

ALEM, Ore. – May is Wildfire Awareness Month. Keep Oregon Green, in partnership with federal, state, tribal and local fire agencies and organizations, celebrates May as the ideal month to create defensible space around homes before fire season and prevent the start of careless, unwanted wildfires this summer.

Protect what you love

Each year, more than 70% of Oregon’s wildfires are started by people. Many are a result of escaped fires from debris burn piles or gas-powered equipment casting sparks or catching fire.

During the 2022 season, the Oregon Department of Forestry reported that people were directly responsible for sparking 616 wildfires that burned 1,255 acres. Any spark can gain traction in dry fuels, spread quickly and impact lives, personal property, and Oregon’s scenic landscapes.

Before heading outdoors this summer, contact the agency or landowner who manages the lands at your destination for an update on current fire restrictions or bans. Any visitor to Oregon’s natural areas should be familiar with these restrictions before building campfires, burning debris, or using equipment that could start a fire.

Put Your Smokey Hat On

This year, Keep Oregon Green is launching a new wildfire prevention campaign and releasing five new public service announcements to help raise awareness of the risks. The ads feature Emmy-award winning television, movie and voice actor Ty Burrell. The ads will encourage Oregonians and tourists to keep wildfire safety in mind while enjoying the outdoors. Burrell was born in Grants Pass, grew up in Applegate and Ashland, and graduated from Hidden Valley High School in Grants Pass. He understands the risk of wildfire and smoke that threatens our health and beautiful landscapes each year.

Smokey’s hat is the driving force behind Keep Oregon Green’s 2023 campaign. “Put Your Smokey Hat On” is a call to action, encouraging people to predict the outcome of their actions and do everything they can to protect our state’s scenic areas. New campaign artwork, PSAs, and additional wildfire safety tips can be found at keeporegongreen.org or its various social media platforms.

Coming soon: More Wildfire Awareness Month tips 

During May, a new wildfire prevention topic will be shared each week to help homeowners and recreationists learn how to prevent their outdoor activities from sparking the next wildfire. For more information, visit the websites for Keep Oregon Green at www.keeporegongreen.org, the Oregon Department of Forestry at www.oregon.gov/odf, and the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal at www.oregon.gov/osp/programs/sfm/Pages/Wildfire-Awareness-Month.aspx.

Follow Oregon wildfire news and prevention updates on social media: @keeporegongreen, @ORDeptForestry and @OSFM

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