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What would Smokey the Bear say about the recent fires?

WWSS: What would Smokey say?

Dear humanity: I get that it’s not always your fault. The 28,000 acres of ancient bristlecone pines and cuddly forest creatures that burned up on Mount Charleston were victims of lightning, just like that poor palm tree across from Chilly Palmer’s ... But when you live in a city hot enough to catch old Corvettes on fire just sitting at stoplights, you need to be smarter. For one, stop building your dream homes where it’s pretty! Pretty equals kindling, i.e. a view full of dense stands of trees with dry leaves and bark just waiting for a careless match or that pesky lightning to turn them into fuel for God’s Weber Kettle. If you can’t help yourself, at least build your houses with sensible materials. Logs and wood shingles are charming—until they melt all of your Earthly possessions. There’s a reason we call the development of residential areas in city-bordering forests “urban creep.” Back in the ’40s, right before I was born, the U.S. Forest Service cautioned the public by comparing carelessness about wildfires to directly helping the Nazis. No joke, and I think that’s how serious we should take it today. Love, Smokey (P.S. You really need to work on my memes. They suck.)

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Erin Ryan

Erin got her first newspaper job in 2002 thanks to a campfire story about Bigfoot. In her award-winning work for ...

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