In 1926, Forest Fire Control inaugurated a system of prevention programming and pre-suppression activities within Barnstable County that by 1929, had reduced suppression costs in that county by 80%.*
Today, Forest Fire Control conducts numerous education programs to increase public awareness of the prevention and hazards of forest fire. Much of this activity focuses on practical steps people can take to reduce the threat posed by forest fire and are often held in conjunction with local fire departments.
The Bureau uses many and varied tools to spread the methods and benefits of prevention. It serves as the Commonwealth's guardian of the nation's symbol of fire prevention; Smokey Bear. Under the auspices of the U.S. Forest Service, it sponsors Smokey's appearances at schools, fairs, educational programs and parades throughout Massachusetts. Programming is also conducted from Bureau managed forest fire observation towers and in its new mobile fire observation cabin model. Additional tools are the Bureau's 45 foot prevention trailer, demonstrations using modern forest fire fighting equipment, and the ongoing training of other agency and local fire fighters.
Bureau personnel also carry out pre-suppression activities through the construction and maintenance of fire breaks, water holes and general fuel reduction within forested areas.