Reduce ignitions from campfires, debris burning, vehicles, and other sources.
Wildfire prevention can affect wildfire likelihood. Explore your community’s risk.
About Wildfire Prevention
Nationally, nearly 9 out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans. The main causes of human-ignited wildfires are campfires left unattended, debris burning, hot ashes and BBQ coals, and vehicles or equipment that throw sparks.
Wildfire prevention education efforts—such as public service announcements, brochures, social media campaigns, and presentations—are successful and cost-effective in helping decrease the number of human-caused wildfires. Local governments and land management agencies can implement burning regulations and fire and activity restrictions based on current and forecasted fire danger. Tools such as land use planning and zoning can be useful for regulating high hazard land uses such as sawmills and propane farms. Increased patrols by fire service professionals and regular equipment inspections in fire-prone areas are also effective strategies to reduce human-caused wildfires. Local forestry and Forest Service personnel can assist with identifying successful techniques.
Communication, Education, and Prevention Committee (CEPC)
The Communication, Education, and Prevention Committee (CEPC) of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group provides national leadership, support, and coordination in all areas of wildland fire education and prevention. Prevention and education teams are available to support any geographic area preceding and during periods of high fire danger or fire activity.
National Association of State Foresters
The National Association of State Foresters is a non-profit organization composed of the directors of forestry agencies in the states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. State foresters manage and protect state and private forests, which encompass nearly two-thirds of the nation’s forests.
The Smokey Bear website provides tips and resources about how to be safe with your campfire, how to use and maintain outdoor equipment and vehicles in ways that prevent sparking a wildfire, how to prevent wildfires from backyard debris burning, and other ways to be fire-smart at home and on the go.
Research & Science
- Economic benefits of wildfire prevention education. Hermansen-Báez LA, Prestemon JP, Butry JT, Abt KL, & Sutphen R. (2019). Fire Management Today, 77(2), 18-19.
- Economics of WUI/Wildfire Prevention and Education. Butry DT, & Prestemon JP. (2019). In Manzello SL, (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Wildfires and Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fires. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
- Location, timing and extent of wildfire vary by cause of ignition. Syphard AD & Keeley JE. (2015). International Journal of Wildland Fire. Clayton, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.
- Spatial wildfire occurrence data for the United States, 1992-2015, 4th Edition. Short KC. (2017). FPA_FOD_20170508. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service Research Data Archive.
Learn how these actions align with federal policies and initiatives.