Smokey says, "Only you can prevent forest fires"

By Jeannie Lopez

The 61 year old black bear visited Lincoln Elementary in Exeter, to give students a couple tips on how to prevent forest fires.

Smokey and his volunteers taught students all about what safety precautions to take in the case of a fire.

Smokey's volunteers were part of the VIP program, Volunteers in Prevention. Those volunteers were Dorothy King, Buford King, Ginger Gomez, firefighter David Martin, and firefighter Captain Nick Perricelli. Each VIP put Diana Lemus and Susan Sanders' first grade class in groups to speak to the students individually about how to prevent forest fires. By the end of the group discussions, the VIPs would say to the kids, "If your friend is playing with matches or a lighter, what do you do?" students quickly repeated, "Take them away and give them to an adult."

Students also watched a slide show that was about Smokey living in beautiful forest, but later showed the forest being destroyed by a child playing with matches. Students were amazed to see just how big a forest fire can grow in just seconds. VIPs did assure the children that Smokey was safe and is now living in another part of the forest.

Smokey has been bringing awareness to people all around the nation to teach them about fire hazard. Before he leaves,Smokey always makes sure to tell students, "Only you can prevent forest fires."

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