On Dec. 17, Keep Oregon Green, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Forestry, launched the pre-sale of a brand-new Oregon license plate design. The plate features the iconic image of Smokey Bear set against a green forested backdrop and the words “Keep Oregon Green” as a reminder of the need to protect Oregon’s scenic landscapes from careless human-caused wildfires.
Vouchers are now on sale for the new plates. According to a press release from the Oregon Department of Forestry, Keep Oregon Green will promote the license plate on social media using the hashtag “#DriveWithSmokey” until 3,000 vouchers are sold. The Keep Oregon Green Association will also partner with other firefighting and emergency response organizations to help spread the message. The release of the plate design and voucher sale coincides with a year-long, nationwide celebration of Smokey Bear’s 75th anniversary in 2019.
“Each year, approximately two-thirds of Oregon’s wildfires are human-caused and they are all completely preventable,” said Keep Oregon Green CEO Kristin Babbs. “Keep Oregon Green has been a household slogan since its inception in 1941, and this message is more important now than ever before. Wildfire awareness opportunities like this will help ingrain it in Oregonian’s DNA.”
In 2018, the number of human-caused fires represented 79 percent of all ignitions, the press release stated. The leading culprits behind a number of these fires were illegal burning, driving poorly maintained vehicles that spark fires, and failing to extinguish campfires properly. Other fire causes include power lines, mowing dry grass, fireworks and smoking.
Keep Oregon Green runs annual campaigns aimed at reducing the number of these types of wildfires. The phrase “Keep Oregon Green” is prominently shown on road signs on major highways, television, radio and in print advertisements each year, with a strong message emphasis during the summer fire season.
To purchase a $40 voucher and contribute to Keep Oregon Green’s fire prevention message, visit drivewithsmokey.com. The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles will begin producing the license plates when 3,000 vouchers have been sold.
For more on wildfire prevention information and the Keep Oregon Green Association, visit www.keeporegongreen.org.