Ohio receives Golden Smokey Award for wildfire prevention

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smokey bear

COLUMBUS — The Mid-Atlantic Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact’s (MAIFFPC) Fire Prevention Committee was presented with the Golden Smokey Award during the Northeast-Midwest State Foresters Alliance summer meeting July 18.

Ohio

Ohio’s representative on the committee, Aaron Kloss, of Centerburg in Knox County, accepted the award on behalf of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry.

Kloss has worked for ODNR for 15 years and has served on the compact prevention committee for 14 years. One of his projects on the committee is the Smokey Bear video, which teaches kids about outdoor fire safety.

Kloss been dispatched throughout the country more than 20 times to fight wildfires with ODNR’s wildland fire crews and as an ODNR Division of Forestry single resource.

Smokey

Since 1957, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service has awarded the Golden Smokey Award to organizations and individuals for outstanding service in wildfire prevention at the national level.

Compact

The MAIFFPC was authorized by the U.S. Congress in 1956 and represents seven states in the Mid-Atlantic region, covering a collective 35,000,000 acres.

The member states include Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

The compact allows sharing of state resources for wildfire control and effective wildfire prevention across the region, particularly through outreach projects managed by the Fire Prevention Committee.

Outreach

Over the past several years, compact member states have worked together to produce wildfire prevention messages that impact thousands of individuals across the United States and Canada.

Creative outreach efforts include interactive children’s games, customized Smokey Bear artwork for the region and an international wildfire prevention-focused conference.

Their upcoming projects consist of a supplemental Smokey-themed booklet, which will appear in the children’s magazine Highlights and a wildfire app.

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