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Monday, April 7, 2014

Start Your Engines


Smokey Bear and the Virginia Department of Forestry  was among the many fans in attendance Saturday afternoon when South Boston Speedway hosted NASCAR Green Day.
 America’s Hometown Track hosts the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150 racing program. 

The featured attractions of the day will be a 150-lap battle for the touring competitors in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modifed Tour and a pair of 75-lap events for the drivers in the NASCAR Whelen All American Late Model Stock Car Division.

Josh Oakley #8 raced in second for most of the race but on 

the final lap a caution caused a restart and a race to the flag 

during which Oakley overtook the leader with less than a 

1/2 lap to go. 

Andy Seuss took the lead on lap 53 and dominated the rest of the way in winning the NASCAR Southern Modified Tour South Boston 150 at South Boston (Va.) Speedway.

Lee Pullman #5 won the second of the 75 lap event.

Other pictures from Saturday at the race!

Everybody but Smokey had ear protection but he did OK. Bet he will have some next time though.

Cathy Rice South Boston Raceway General Manager, Smokey and John Campbell Department of Forestry's Public Relations Manager.

  Olivia with the South Boston Track, Danny Bohn car #65 and Smokey

Smokey, The Forestry Dept, Smokey and local firefighters honored during the parade lap.

Smokey drops the green flag to start the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified race. Which was won by Andy Seuss car #11 seen below.

Do you see a hiding Smokey?

Who says Smokey is only for the young? 

Smokey talks with Lee Pullman prior to the race. maybe he gave Lee a few tips that helped him win the 3rd race of the day.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Play Ball

Can you believe it's time for baseball!!! Smokey is ready are you? It has been a long and crazy winter.
The original version of this psa was designed and produced for the Texas Forest Service and the Virginia version was graciously produced for us by them. THANKS TX!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I'm Back!

WOW I cant believe I have been away from posting for so long. Hopefully this will be a revitalization of this blog. This is a BIG year for Smokey as he turns 70 and it's also a momentous year for the Virginia Department of Forestry, the Tennessee Division of Forestry and the Texas Forest Service as we all are turning 100 this year. In addition to keeping up with significant wildfire activity and other emergency response I hope to regularly post "birthday" and  historically related material.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Its NOT over yet!

With every raindrop an end to our Spring Wildfire Season draws closer and closer HOWEVER it is not over as evident by a significant wildfire near Buena Vista. the info below was provided by the incident information folks and the pictures were provided by folks on the fire or obtained from WBDJ TV 7

Overview:  The Elephant Fire is located on Elephant Mountain, just east of Buena Vista, Virginia.
Estimated Acreage:  Approximately 250 acres
Containment:  33% contained                            
Operational Plan:  For Tuesday, April 16, 2013, firefighters will construct containment lines and extinguish hotspots along the south and east sides of the fire.  Efforts will continue to secure the rocky northeast portion of the fire.  Additional interior mop-up will continue along the west side of the fire.  Rehabilitation work will begin today on dozer lines created near structures in Buena Vista.  
Fire Cause:  The Elephant Fire was initially reported at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, 2013.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Resources on the Fire:  Approximately 140 firefighters and support staff, including two Type 1 Hotshot Crews, one Type 2 Initial Attack Crew, two dozers, five engines, and a helicopter are assisting with the Elephant Fire.
Closures:  No closures at this time
Cooperators:  Virginia Department of Forestry, National Park Service, Buena Vista Fire Department
Fire Weather:     
·        Tuesday Weather:  Cloudy and damp with occasional drizzle this morning, then becoming partly cloudy. High 78 degrees. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Minimum humidity, 62%.
·        Tuesday Evening Weather: A few clouds. Low 58 degrees. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Maximum humidity, 84%.
·        Wednesday Weather:  Partial cloudiness early, with scattered showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Warm. High 81 degrees. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 40%. Minimum humidity, 57%.
General Fire Information:
·        Safety of the public and firefighters is always the number one priority when dealing with wildfires.
·        Over one mile of dozer line was completed on the west end of the fire to protect approximately 30 homes.  Rehabilitation of this line will begin on Tuesday.  No structures have been lost or damaged.
·        Smoke from the Elephant Fire may continue to be visible in Buena Vista and surrounding areas for several days.
·        Homeowners can learn how to make their homes less susceptible to wildfires by visiting:

For updated information any media requests should be made by contacting Michael Williams, Public Information Officer:  (540) 525-1539

Now is not the time to get complacient and forget all that Smokey has taught us including obeying all local and state burning regulations. We still have approximately 2 weeks left in what is refered to as the 4PM Law

When this law goes out May 1st this is when we traditionally call an end to our Spring Wildfire Season however you must still pay attention to the weather and local conditions BEFORE planning any outdoor burning.



Thursday, April 11, 2013

More pictures from wildfires yesterday

This is an areial picture from the Chesterfield Rt 288 fire from yesterday. The very dark areas are portions of the young pine plantation that were burned so hot that few if any trees in those areas will survive.
pictures and video provided by R. Reuse PIO2

The pictures below are from a wildfire in Mecklenburg County that started from an debris burn that "got away". Several acres and 2 cottages later the Department of Forestry and local fire Departments stoped it.
Please note that the two structures that burned both had shake shingle (wooden) roofs that ignited from hot sparks.

One might not think many sparks or embers occure hwen burning even in a barrel, but taking a look at a night time picture tells the real story.

They say April showers bring May flowers but No rain in April brings Wildfires.

This time of year even a few days without rain ontop of the excessive temperatures, higher winds and lower humidities are conditions during which we see an increase in wildfire activity. These conditions in themselves DO NOT cause the fires but they do create conditions that make fires easier to start and more difficult to suppress.

From April 1st to April 9th the Virginia Department of Forestry has reported 102 fires for 770 acres. Yesterday(the 10th) was a very busy day and the numbers are not in yet but you can keep up with the wildfire activity by clicking on the link below. New reports are usually posted by 10:00 each morning.

Wildfire InformationDaily Report - shows wildfire activity as reported to our offices. Fire risk and year-to-date information included.

There are numerous news stories on the web most recently the media market out of Richmond has been busy covering wildfires in the area. The pictures below and the provided links are all from this area and the local media covering the situation.

This fire off of Rt 288 and Courthouse Road impacted numerous homes and burned in what we refer to as the Wildland Urban Interface. Home owners and others property owners can find out many ways that they can help provide more protection to their houses, out buildings and other property by becoming more FIREWISE. This link will take you to a wealth of information provided by the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Just so you dont think that the Richmond area was in this alone the following link is to a news story out of the Charlottesville area that was also dealing with numerous fires yesterday and previously.

Obey all burning restrictions

February 15 - April 30
During this period, the 4PM Burn Law is in effect.
  • DO NOT light fires until 4PM.
  • DO NOT stir up the fire or add new fuel after Midnight.
  • Can I burn...? Burning and the 4 PM Law

And just because you can leagely burn you might want to postpone any burning untill thewildfire danger is reduced with some rain, lower temperatures and the trees and grass "Green Up".