For the first time since 1998, the Smokey Bear hot air balloon will be making an appearance in Alabama! The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC), in cooperation with the Friends of the Smokey Bear Balloon, Inc., is bringing the spectacular 145,000 cubic foot, 97-foot tall special shaped balloon to the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival in Foley, June 15-17.
In addition to Smokey delivering his message of preventing unwanted wildfires during the three-day event, AFC employees will be on hand to demonstrate all the services provided by the Commission to citizens of the state. On Saturday, a special guest appearance is expected from “Blaze, the AFC Arson Dog.”
Going to Greater Heights to Prevent Wildfires . . . each time the Smokey Bear Balloon appears, it stimulates the imagination and curiosity of younger generations about Smokey Bear, which can lead to important and probing questions. Older generations familiar with Smokey Bear's history are challenged to answer these questions and are instantly reminded of wildfire lessons of the past. No matter where they are seen, the Smokey Bear Balloons have touched the hearts of every child and adult as evidenced by tears, cheers, and applause.
Friends of the Smokey Bear Balloon Inc., is a non-profit corporation dedicated to assisting federal, state, and local agencies to educate and convey messages to prevent human-caused wildfires through the use of Smokey Bear balloons and the accompanying trailer and antique fire truck which provides opportunities for special exhibits, presentations, and demonstrations to gather support for forest conservation.
The mission of the Alabama Forestry Commission is to protect and sustain Alabama’s forest resources using professionally applied stewardship principals and education, ensuring that the state’s forests contribute to abundant timber and wildlife, clean air and water, and a healthy economy. To learn more about the AFC, visit www.forestry.alabama.gov.