Search This Blog

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My 200th Post!

A momentous occasion today! This is my 200th posting to the blog. With nearly 60,000 folks checking in from time to time I think this social media "thing" is catching on and will be around for a while longer. All kidding aside I am always amazed as to just how small the world is and how easy it is to put information out there allowing folks from all over the world to access it.

With only 15 days till Smokey's birthday I hope you find this 200th post yet another interesting and useful item. This is a 5 page document, the first 4 pages originally published in 1958 and page 5 being new. My 2 hoby interests all in one, stamp collecting and Smokey Bear it doesn't get any better.
Check out page 5 for 2 Smokey Bear pictures you may have never seen.

Enjoy and thanks for being one of the 60,000 and thanks for viewing this 200th blog post.

Monday, July 23, 2012

T-Minus 17 and counting

August 9th will be here soon.
This posting is a very long one but one I think if your a Smokey Bear history buff you will like. Along with it is yet another activity for you to use and share, its a connect the dot/coloring sheet.

The following is a document I recently received along with a lot of other historical information. There are so many stories about the first few days after Smokey was found, who actually found him clinging to the burned tree, and how he eventually made his way to Dr. Smith and then eventually to his home in DC. By no means do I want to diminish any of the "stories" that are around or the claims by anyone who remembers having a part in finding and caring for the little bear cub that became Smokey. But I do want to share this letter written by Don Bell, Ray Bells son and brother to Judy Bell both of which whose names are much more associated with Smokey. But Don Bell as a 15 year old was very much involved and was also the recipient of all the stories his dad passed along.
So please enjoy this bit of history and I for one am placing a lot of creditability in it factualness.

I have taken care to type exactly as written the 10 page document, which follows.

I've been meaning to write this item for years, but kept putting it off for one reason or another. You may ask, "What prompted you to write the story now after all these years?"
For over 50 years I have been listening to various and a sundry people tell their story about how they were involved with Smokey Bear one way or another. Just recently one of my family's friends, G. W. Chapman, has been the center of the Smokey Bear story that caught my
attention and thought it was about time I put down in writing the story of how a tiny bear cub weighing four pounds that was saved from a forest fire became a living symbol representing the famous forest fire prevention paper symbol, "Smokey the Bear".
A month ago I had a dentist appointment with a dentist here in Las Cruces and as I was waiting for my appointment I picked up a June 2005 Smithsonian magazine and was flipping through the pages. As I flipped, I spotted a picture of a fellow standing in a forest and thought it looked a lot like a fellow I knew by the name of G. W. Chapman. I looked again and sure enough
it was a picture of G. W. and the article surrounding the picture was an article telling the story about how G. W. Chapman was the fellow who was a fire fighter on the forest fire near the small community of Capitan, New Mexico and was responsible for rescuing the cub bear out of a burnt tree in the forest fire camp that went on to become Smokey Bear.
I saw the story but couldn't believe what I was reading, because I knew the story was not
the story I have lived with for over fifty years. A question popped in my mind, "How in the world did G. W. manage to get this questionable story in the prestigious Smithsonian Magazine?"

The next thing I hear within a month or so was the Smithsonian Magazine had sponsored G. W. to a trip to Washington D.C. to attend a 100 year celebration of the U.S. Forest Service where gave talks on how he saved Smokey Bear cub and was signing autographs there. Next was I received the word there was a U.S. Forest meeting in Ruidoso where G.W. was lecturing about how he saved the cub. Within a week of that meeting there was an  article in our local newspaper, "Las Cruces Sun-News" sent from G.W.'s hometown newspaper in Alamogordo telling the same story about how G.W. saved the cub bear that became Smokey Bear.
I decided to write this story to perhaps bring to light and clear up some of the past stories told and written. I'm doing this is as how I remembered it as a 15-year-old in May 1950 ago some 55 years ago. I'm the only one left in my family that had direct contact with the cub who is still alive to tell the story as my father; mother and my sister have passed away.
There have been numerous children's books and pamphlets written with the title "The True Story of Smokey Bear" by various and asundry authors. In 1994 there was a full sized "book:' written about Smokey Bear by William Clifford Lawter Jr. published by Lindsay Smith Publishers, which bears the name of" Smokey Bear 20252 A Biography"
All of these books had to be approved and blessed by the U.S Forest service before they could be published because they have the copyright to any and all things connected to Smokey Bear. They own Smokey Bear and anything connected to the name in total. You cannot publish any book or any other writing on the subject without their approval. You cannot sell and items commercially having Smokey Bear's name on it without their approval. You cannot have a commercial building with Smokey Bear's name, or part of the name, on it without the U.S. Forest Service's approval.
Bill Lawter's book was well done; however one must keep in mind that the U.S. Forest Service and my dad edited it. Like I said, the story is as I remember it and there are numerous portions that do not agree with Bill Lawter's book or dad's final story. In my opinion, dad being a type of person who wanted to present a story on Smokey Bear that made all agencies and
persons of power look good and was a presentable story to children. He felt the future of saving the nation's forests were children and to bend the story here and there was well worth the
modification (he would never admit he modified the story. He and I had several discussions on
the subject.). The major modification he made was that the planning of making the bear cub into
the living symbol of Smokey the Bear was culminated in the fire camp before he flew the cub to Santa Fe.
I would like to present to you the story, as I remember it, and let you make up your own mind
what the true story is.

The making of a cub bear into Smokey The Bear as I remember it
By Donald R. Bell

Dad walked into our house carrying a shoebox and when he opened the box we were looking at a male bear cub weighing approximately four pounds. The cub looked a bit sick and had its feet bound in white gauze bandages and the hair on its belly was a bit singed.
It was not unusual for dad to bring home animals of various ages for his family to care for. He had brought home baby deer (fauns), other cub bear, beaver and other wild animals for the family to care for until the animals could be re-located in the wild or at a local zoo. These animals had been abandoned in the wild and would have died if he had not taken them in or they

were animals people had caught in the wild with traps and were using them as pets or commercially. One example was one bear cub was tied to a gasoline pump in the northern community of New Mexico to bring in more business. The keeping of a wild game animal is against the law in New Mexico unless approved by the New Mexico State Game Warden.
My mother, Ruth, dad, Ray L. Bell, and sister, Judy, had recently moved from Capitan, New Mexico to Santa Fe.
Dad was employed by the New Mexico State Game Department. And had recently been promoted from District Game Warden in Capitan to Chief of Law Enforcement for the entire
State of New Mexico. Dad was also the pilot of the only airplane for the Department. The plane
was a Piper Cub Tandem built by Piper aircraft Company.
On May 4, 1950 a forest fire was started by a lighting struck in the Capitan Mountains 15
miles east of the Small community of Capitan. Due to high winds the fire quickly spread and fire
fighter from the area and federal and state agencies were called in to fight the fire.
One of the state agencies was the New Mexico State Game Department, which called in several District Game Wardens. Because The NMSGD was called in and The Game Department
had the only experienced small plane pilot and dad being that pilot, dad was sent to Capitan to
assist with the fire May 7 when the fire reached its peak. He would fly over the fire and report to
the ground crews fighting the fire how the fire was moving and how fast it was traveling.
On May 9th dad had been flying the fire off and on for two days when he had landed and was visiting with the ground crews in the fire camp. He was approached by Speed Simons, one of the District Game Wardens acting as a fire fighting crew chiefs, who told dad there was a
soldiers in camp who had taken a bear cub out a burned sapling tree and had it in his possession

in the camp. Soldiers from Ft. Bliss had been volunteered to fight the fire by the commander of Ft. Bliss.
Dad started walking through the fire camp looking for the soldier with the bear. Soon he came upon a young, 19-year-old Soldier setting on his sleeping bag, leaning against a tree with
the head of a cub, Black Bear sticking out of the front of his fatigue shirt.
Dad swatted down in front of the soldier and said, "Hello son. I see you have a bear there in your shirt. What are you planning to do with it?
The soldier replied in obviously an accent from Tennessee or Kentucky, "Howdy, Yessir-ee I got me a bear. I been feeding him with Baby Ruth candy bars and some can milk. I'm goin' to send this here bear back to my mom in Tennessee. She ain't never seen no bear before."
Dad replied, "I see the bear Looks kind a sick and it's feet are a little burned what do think about me taking that bear to a doctor and get him fixed up?"
Much conversation continued before he was able to talk the bear away from the soldier. It took dad 45 minutes to complete the transaction. Dad didn't want just use the law on the soldier who had saved the cub from death, to take the bear away from him?
Dad said he found some bacon grease in the cook shack and smeared it on the cub's feet and the night before he flew home to Santa Fe; he spent the night at Mr. Guck's home. Mr. Guck was the National Forest's officer stationed in Capitan at the time? When dad showed up at the Guck's house Mrs. Guck felt sorry for the cub, found an empty shoebox in the house and a clean white rag to place in the box for the cub to sleep in. Dad had been carrying the cub around in an
old towel he had scrounged in fire camp. The cub had to be kept in the garage that night because it was crying and keeping everyone awake.
The next morning dad filled his gas tanks with gas, made sure the string around the shoebox holding the cub was tight, loaded the cub into the airplane and took off from the cow pasture he had landed in.
When he arrived at the small airfield on the out skirts of Santa Fe and walked into the small building acting as a terminal building he was carrying the shoe box under his arm and his clothing bag under the other. The Ettingers' were the operators of the airfield and Mrs. Ettinger loved to take pictures with her newly purchased 8 mm movie camera. She photographed the cub and dad for several minutes and when she was done called Dr. Smith's office, the local
veterinarian, to tell him dad was on his way into Santa Fe with a cub bear that needed attention.
She then called the Santa Fe New Mexican, the local newspaper, and gave them the story of bear cub having been saved from a forest fire had been flown into town by a Game Warden by the name of Ray Bell. The next day a small article appeared the fifth page of the paper and the cub was named "Hot Foot Teddy".
Like I said earlier, the cub wasn't feeling too well when we got him. Dad explained that, as far as he knew, hadn't eaten any real food for several days so if we didn't solve the problem quickly, the cub would die. Mother had experience with other infant animals and decided what to do.
My sister was four years old at the time and she was still walking around with a baby bottle stuck in her mouth; so mother confiscated one of Judy's bottles filled it with a mixture of pabulum, honey and canned milk into a slurry consistent and poured it into the bottle. She had to gradually cut the end of the rubber nipple of the bottle larger and larger so the pabulum mixture
would flow out of the bottle then stuck it in the cub's mouth? I held the cub with one hand and pried the cub's mouth open while mother squirted some of the mixture in the bottle into the

bear's mouth. The cub batted his eyes and immediately started sucking the pabulum concoction down. We had to jerk the nipple out of his mouth once in a while to keep him from choking and when we did he gave us a battle.
Mother knew from experience of raising baby animals you could not feed them cows milk because it cause the babies to have the scowers (diarrhea) and they will die of dehydration.
You can use goats milk and it's OK, just don't use Cow’s milk.
Judy was not pleased we used her favorite bottle to feed the bear. For that matter she wasn't pleased with the bear to be near her. She thought the bear was cute, but only at a distance.
She had seen how the bear had bitten dad and me when were handling it. The interesting thing was that the bear never bit mother.
The cub recovered quickly from the burns on its feet. It's a good thing because he would chew any bandage off his feet as soon as we put them on. It was impossible to keep any kind of a
covering on his feet. I would hold the bear while mother put the ointment on his feet and that was a chore because he didn't like to be held still. I ended up with scars on my hands when he jerked
his head out of my grasp and bite me with his needle like teeth. I became more proficient at holding him still as time went by.
In the evenings we would bring the bear in from the back porch where we kept him in a wire cage and Jet (the dog) would play with the bear. Jet was a two-month-old, black Cocker Spaniel male puppy we had in the house when cub showed up.
They would race around the house with Jet in hot pursuit of the bear. The bear was faster and could traverse up and over the furniture quicker (much more agile). The bear would climb up
in a wooden kitchen chair, lie down and dangle his paw down to where the dog was standing on the floor with his hind legs on the floor and his front feet up on the leg of the chair. The bear
would then slap at Jet with his paw. The bear would then jump down from the chair stand up on his hind legs and when Jet ran at the bear he would grab Jet in a bear hug and fall over on the floor. They would wrestle around for a few seconds then the bear would roll Jet over on his back, pin him down and began to chew on Jet's ears. It was at this point we would have to pull them apart because Jet would start screaming in pain. Once we separated the two, jet would shake his
head and they would go at it again. This time Jet was really mad and went after the bear in earnest; however the bear, being so much faster, would totally allude Jet which made Jet even more frustrated and he would start barking trying to get at the bear who was laying on the seat of the couch looking down at the stupid dog barking at him. I'll swear the bear was grinning when this happened.
A few weeks went by and dad showed up a house with another cub bear. This bear was a female (I guess I forgot to clarify that the cub we had was a male. I just inferred it, huh?). We named the female Ruby and she was about the same size as the bear we had been keeping.
Ruby's personality was a lot different than the other bear. She loved to be cuddled and held. If you wearing a short sleeved shirt, she would suck on the skin on your arm while being held. She was a little older than the other bear and in excellent physical condition so dad was able to take her to the zoo within a few days. Dad had found Ruby in one of his trips to Taos, New Mexico tied to a gas pump on the side of the road to Taos with a piece of lariat rope around her neck. He
sopped ad confiscated the cub (he wasn't as kind to the service station owner as he was to the soldier), put her in the back seat of his sedan and came home.
The few days we had Ruby and the other bear the two did not get along together. The bear we had first fought Ruby tooth and nail. He hated her; so we had to have two cages to keep them apart. Ruby tried to get along but the other bear wouldn't have it.
A few days after Ruby left, a friend of mother and dad's by the name of Harold Walters called and asked if he could take pictures of the "The Bear". Harold worked for the ew Mexico State Oil Commission and moonlighted as a professional photographer. Dad said there was no problem about pictures and Harold came to the house with his huge camera and other paraphernalia to take pictures of the bear.
Harold set his camera up in the small living room while I went out on the porch and got the bear. I held the bear while mother brushed him down with an old hairbrush. We set the bear down on the floor near a wall and Harold took a picture or two them mother thought it would be nice if pictures would be taken of the bear and Judy; so mother combed Judy's hair, dressed her in a colorful shirt (the pictures were black and white) a pair of jeans and boots. Mother then thought of placing a small shag rug on the floor for Judy and the bear to be on. She thought it would look like grass. Judy was not enthusiastic over the idea, but after some coxing, four-year old Judy agreed to taking a picture with the bear. The bear wasn't going to cooperate taking the
picture with Judy until mother thought of smearing a bit of honey on Judy's chin. It worked, but it scared Judy to have the bear licking on her face. She put up with it long enough for Harold to take a picture. Dad got the idea to slip a "Smokey the Bear" poster behind Judy and the bear during the picture taking procedure. He had the poster in the closet leftover from a meeting with the U.S. Forest Service a month or so before.
Harold took several pictures that evening, packed up his stuff and went home to develop the pictures. Around eleven that night Harold called dad and told him the pictures came out very well and would it be OK to take them to the Santa Fe New Mexican paper for a human-interest story. Dad said he didn't see there would be a problem with that so go ahead and take the
pictures to the paper. We were a bit excited because we thought Pictures of Judy and the bear might be in the paper on the 5th page.
The next morning when we woke up and saw the newspaper that had been delivered to our house we were in for the shock of our lives. On the front page of the New Mexican, taking up half the front page was a picture of Judy and the bear with the caption underneath of,
"Smokey the Bear has been found".
The phone started ringing and then we found out a reporter at the New Mexican had written the article attached the pictures of the bear cub and Judy and sent it to all the newspapers throughout the United States by UP! the previous night and the article and pictures were on their
front pages, some had the picture covering the complete front page with only the caption of "Smokey the Bear has been found."
Mother pulled me aside and told me she was very concerned about the article in the newspaper. She was very worried that dad might be in serious trouble for this article going out without dad's boss, Elliot S. Barker, the New Mexico State Game Warden not knowing about the
article beforehand. "Dad may get fired over this," she said.
We had had the cub approximately a month or less when this bomb was dropped in the Bell's house.
The cub bear we had been taken care of at our house was no longer, The Bear. He had a full name and it was "Smokey the Bear".

I hope you enjoyed the story and will find the acticity sheet useful.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


With the decrease in wildfire activity I am taking the opportunity to begin posting information about Smokey Bear, his birthday and other interesting pictures, links and information you might not have seen or know about.  Wildfire “season” is still in full swing and there is a lot of the seasons in front of us so don’t let your guard down. This may just be the calm before the storm.
But for now I hope you find the following posts useful, fun and interesting.
In just a short 3 weeks it will be Smokey’s 68th birthday, 1944 doesn’t seem all that long ago!

 First pictures of Smokey Bear. Look closely they are different or not!, which one  was most widely used and did you know the photographer's name?? It was Harold D. Walters, with the U.S. Forest Service

But before we talk about Smokey a little history lesson is called for...

History of the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Campaign

  As early as 1902, Americans were being warned about the damages of unwanted human caused forest fires, but no formal campaign aimed at prevention existed.  Then in 1939 a poster entitled "Your Forest-Your Fault" featured a Forest Ranger in the image of Uncle Sam pointing to a raging forest fire.  During the years of 1936-1941 a total of 210,000 forest fires burned over 30 million acres of forest and range land.  Nine out of ten were human caused. Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a Japanese submarine surfaced off of the coast of Southern California and fired shells near the Los Padres National Forest.  In 1942, the USDA-Forest Service organized the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Program.  War posters carried fire prevention messages, "Careless Matches Aid the Axis" and "Our Carelessness, their Secret Weapon."  In 1944 the Wartime Advertising Council decided to use an animal to carry the fire prevention message.  Walt Disney agreed to lend the image of Bambi, for a year, to be the first to carry the message. 
   On August 9, 1944 a bear was chosen to be the spokesman for forest fire prevention.  The bear was named "Smokey" after a well-known Assistant Fire Chief named Smokey Joe Martin.  The first slogan, "Care will prevent 9 out of 10 forest fires" was developed and artist Albert Staehle became Smokey's creator.  Within a couple of years, another artist named Rudy Wendelin took over as the Smokey Bear artist and stayed with Smokey until his retirement in 1973.  Smokey's message "Remember only you can prevent forest fires" was coined in 1947.
   Events on May 9, 1950 changed forever the way Americans would look at the forest fire prevention message. On this day in history, a 5 lb. black bear cub was found after a forest fire in the Capitan Mountains near Capitan, New Mexico.   Named Smokey after the poster bear, the cub was later sent to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. to become the "living symbol" for fire prevention.  By 1952, Congress passed and President Eisenhower signed into law the Smokey Bear Act, public law 359.  This law gave control of the image of Smokey to the Secretary of Agriculture so that there would be no unlawful use of Smokey Bear's image.  
   In the late 1950's, a search was underway for a mate for Smokey, and in 1961 "Goldie", an orphaned female black bear also from New Mexico, arrived in Washington to be Smokey's mate.  Sadly no cubs were ever born to the couple and a search was begun to find an adopted son.  By 1964 Smokey's fan mail was so great that he was given his own zip code, 20252.  The only other celebrity to have this honor is the President of the United States.  In 1971, another orphaned black bear was found and sent to Washington, D.C. to become "Little Smokey".  His training lasted for four years when Smokey retired in 1975 after serving for 25 years as the "living symbol" for fire prevention and Little Smokey takes over.  On November 9th, 1976, Smokey passed away and was returned to his hometown of Capitan, New Mexico and is buried at the Smokey Bear Historical Park.  1984 marked the 40th birthday of the poster Smokey and was celebrated by a commemorative stamp designed by Rudy Wendelin, with the first day issue being in Smokey's hometown of Capitan.  The story of the "living symbol" closed with the death of Little Smokey on August 11, 1990.  "Little Smokey" was buried in an undisclosed location in Washington, D.C.  The CFFP is the longest running public service advertising campaign in the history of the Ad Council.
Smokey’s message may be more important today than when it was first conceived 68 years ago. Remember, only You can prevent wildfires.

OK now we can get to "The Bear" SMOKEY !

"May 4th, 1950 was the beginning of a forest fire known to the whole nation, not because of its size or spectacular losses, but because a tiny five-pound black bear cub named Smokey was rescued from it." Dorothy Guck, newspaper reporter for the Lincoln county news.
The first of two fires began on Thursday, May 4th, 1950 when a cook stove over heated and started casting sparks. Fanned by winds of up to 70 mph, thus began the first of two forest fires in the Capitan Mountains. The Los Tablos fire burned approximately 1000 acres before fire crews had it under control two days later on May 6th. It's is believed that the second fire started on May 6th and was also human caused. Again with the wind blowing very hard and having to cover over a mile of rough road to get to what would become known as the Capitan Gap fire, fire crews were in a race against time. It would prove to be a race they would lose! 
On May 8th, a terrible wind made it impossible to control the fire and on this day nineteen fire fighters were forced to escape to a rock slide while the fire burned over them. They were rescued without any fatalities. It was on May 9th that the face of forest fire prevention changed forever with the discovery of a badly singed bear cub. 
Briefly named "Hotfoot Teddy" he was about to take his place in history as the "living symbol" Smokey. Found clinging to a charred tree, the tiny cub was brought back to fire camp by a group of soldiers from Ft. Bliss, Texas who had come to help fight the Capitan Gap fire. New Mexico game warden Ray Bell, who had been flying over the fire for fire boss Dean Earl, had heard of the burned cub. Ray knew the cub needed medical attention and the best veterinarian he knew was in Santa Fe. Ray loaded the little cub in the airplane and flew to Santa Fe. Once there, Dr. Ed Smith was the vet who treated the cubs’ burns but it was Ruth Bell (Ray's wife) and daughter Judy who deserve most of the credit for getting the little cub to eat. 

Dean Earl (left) and Ray Bell

Have you ever seen these two pictures??

What about this one?
In route to Washington, Smokey delighted crowds at stop-off points as he sat in the lap of Homer Pickens of the New Mexico Game and Fish Commission and spelled the pilot at the controls.

OK more pictures and info later.

Click on the images to save or print and share with anyone that might have an opportunity to promote wildfire prevention, Smokey Bear and Fire and Life Safety in general.

Coloring Sheet

Activity Sheet

Mini Poster 8 1/2 x 11

PLEASE check back for another Celebrate SMOKEY BEAR birthday post, next week. A look at more pictures of the real bear, posters, the history of the costume and much more.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Some of the wildfires making news this morning

New Utah wildfires sparked as lightning strikes
Containment is near for bigger wildfires elsewhere in state.
By Bob Mims  The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published Jul 12 2012 07:29 am • Updated 3 hours ago
Containment is near for bigger wildfires elsewhere in state.
New wildfires were keeping crews busy across Utah, but firefighters were near containment on several other blazes.
A wildfire in Iron County sparked by lightning tore through 17,000 acres Thursday. Called theBaboon Fire, the blaze was moving quickly west early Thursday evening, causing the evacuation of Circle Four Farms, a large pig farm. That evacuation was lifted by 9 p.m., but State Road 130 near Minersville remained closed.

Wildfire spreading, perils 150 homes at Foresthill
By Max Ehrenfreund, Cathy Locke and Bill Lindelof
Published: Friday, Jul. 13, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
High temperatures, low humidity and wind thwarted efforts to contain a fire near Foresthill, which grew to at least 800 acres Thursday, one of the largest wildfires in the Sacramento region this season.

Read more here:

Community of Frenchglen now on wildfire evacuation alert
Published: Thursday, July 12, 2012, 5:09 PM     Updated: Thursday, July 12, 2012, 5:21 PM

Ranchers near Frenchglen in Harney County scrambled to move livestock on Thursday as a new evacuation warning went into effect against a fast-moving wildfire that has spread to more than 60,000 acres. 

Lightning sparks multiple fires
More than 25,000 acres burned by new blazes

ST. GEORGE — Lightning sparked dozens of fires Wednesday and Thursday in Southern Utah and the Arizona Strip, threatening farms and communities, stretching the region’s firefighting resources and covering much of the area in smoke.
In the Arizona Strip, crews were fighting 13 lightning-caused fires as of late Thursday night, including the 18,000-acre Hobble Complex Fire, about 35 miles south of St. George, which fire managers said sent clouds of smoke into the city late Thursday. They were also battling the 4,500-acre Plateau Fire, about 65 miles south of St. George, and a number of other fires of various sizes,

Alberta fire blankets Saskatchewan in smoke

By Charles Hamilton, The StarPhoenix; With Files From Postmedia News July 13, 2012 4:04 AM
People in Saskatoon woke up Thursday morning to smoky skies thanks to a massive wildfire in Alberta.
The forest fire in the northwestern part of that province has already burned approximately 1,000 square kilometres of timber and bush. Smoke from the fire blew into Saskatchewan and blanketed much of the Prairie sky.




OLYMPIA, Wash., July 12 -- The Washington state Department of Natural Resources issued the following news release:
The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today the following changes in the fire danger rating and burn restrictions on DNR-protected lands.

Report: Arcing Power Lines Caused Utah Wildfire
By PAUL FOY and BRIAN SKOLOFF | July 13, 2012
A Utah wildfire that destroyed 160 structures, 52 homes and left one man dead was caused by arcing between power transmission lines that were built too closely together and sent a surge to the ground that ignited dry grass, a fire investigator said Wednesday.
The central Utah Wood Hollow Fire began June 23 and wasn’t fully contained for 10 days, costing nearly $4 million to fight, according to state officials. Officials said 160 structures total were destroyed. The 75-square-mile blaze began when winds caused two sets of high-voltage power lines to either touch or swing close enough to each other to create a surge than swept down the poles into dry brush, said Deputy Utah Fire Marshal Troy Mills.
Rocky Mountain Power, which owns the lines, said a thief stripped protective cooper wire from its poles that may have prevented the surge.

Luke Fuller, with Salmon Track Rural Fire District, watches an air tanker drop retardant on a wildfire north of Jackpot, Nev., on Tuesday, July 10, 2012. Photo: The Times-News, Ashley Smith / AP