Abandoned, illegal campfire blamed for fatal Soberanes wildfire

An abandoned, illegal campfire sparked the Soberanes wildfire in California that has scorched more than 67-square miles of Monterey County and killed one person, state fire officials announced Tuesday.

The campfire was about 2-feet by 2-feet and burning away from official hiking trails and campsites when it triggered the larger blaze a few miles east of Highway 1 north of Soberanes Creek Trail July 22, an investigator with CAL FIRE said. 

Authorities are still searching for the person or persons who started the campfire.

New Report: How Communities Are Managing Their Urban Trees

Trees are a recognized and significant asset to communities, but to remain so, and increase in value they need care and regular maintenance. Municipal Tree Care and Management in the United States: A 2014 Urban & Community Forestry Census of Tree Activities is the fifth report over 40 years that addresses the many approaches communities take to manage public trees. Findings show how 667 communities are managing their trees on average, and how their municipal urban forestry operations are organized and funded.

Wildlife Returning After Fort McMurray Wildfire

Standing in a burned-out bog near Fort McMurray, Canada, University of Alberta (U of A) researcher Hedwig Lankau is surrounded by small signs of life.

The damp bog is one of her favorite places to explore, after a wildfire changes its ecosystem.

"I find that after the fire it's different, but it's beautiful and it represents that new beginning," Lankau says.

Researchers were already studying the forests around Fort McMurray before a massive wildfire tore through in May, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate the city. 

Support the Timber Innovation Act

The United States Senate, led by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) have introduced the Timber Innovation Act (S. 2892). A House companion bill, H.R. 5628, has also been introduced and was led by Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).

Both bills would:

Announcing the 2016 Smokey Bear Award Winners

Along with its partners at the USDA Forest Service and the Ad Council, NASF is pleased to announce the 2016 National Smokey Bear Awards winners.

Since 1957, this prestigious awards program has recognized organizations and individuals for outstanding service to prevent wildfires. The awardees have demonstrated significant impact at the national level (Gold), multi-state level (Silver), and statewide level (Bronze). These awards remind us of the hard work that all Americans can do to reduce the threat of human­ caused wildfires.

Spotlight on Savannah: Get to Know the Neighborhood

By Jessica Hernandez

Would you like to spend the last few days of summer under the canopy of Savannah's grand oak trees? We invite you to register to join State Foresters for the NASF annual meeting September 19-22.

Earlier this month we wrote about the history and layout of the city. This week we're focused on the multitude of activities available to visitors of this spectacular southern city.

Jonathon Motsinger Receives Bronze Smokey Bear Award

Texas A&M Forest Service Staff Forester Jonathon Motsinger received a Bronze Smokey Bear Award this week. Motsinger was honored at the Southern Group of State Foresters’ annual meeting in Mobile, Alabama for his innovative method to share Smokey Bear’s wildfire prevention message.

Motsinger created the Smokey Bear 70th Birthday Geocoin, which enables geocachers to locate, move, and log-in 70 trackable Smokey geocoins throughout the world. The Smokey Bear 70th Birthday geocoins are engraved with Smokey’s famous slogan, “Only you can prevent wildfires.”

Camp Cultivates Youth Interest in Forestry

24 high school students have just completed the Kentucky Forest Leadership Program in Jabez, Kentucky. The program presents high school upperclassmen with an opportunity to learn hands-on about forest ecosystems as well as explore future college programs and careers in natural resources. It is conducted by way of a partnership between the Kentucky Division of Forestry, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, and the Kentucky Division of Conservation.