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By Cami Dibattista
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 9:02 p.m.

Linn Run State Park will be hosting a Smokey the Bear Mountain Pie meeting in honor of National Fire Prevention Week. Guests are invited to visit the campfire ring in the Grove Run picnic area 5 p.m. Saturday, to learn some valuable life saving tips and to hone their mountain pie making skills.

Meet Smokey the Bear as he hands out literature, activity books and buttons.

“I'll discuss fire safety and the importance of never leaving a fire unattended,” said Linn Run State Park Ranger Vince Mackell, who began the program two years ago. “It's necessary for children to learn to respect fire. But they also have to know if something happens not to panic.”

According to the 2010 National Fire Protection Association, a home fire is reported every 85 seconds. Whether in or outside, fire can do devastating damage in a matter of seconds. Taking the time to learn what to do in the case of an uncontrollable blaze can mean the difference between life and death.

National Fire Prevention Week, which ends Saturday, is dedicated to keeping the public informed about the importance of fire prevention. Started in 1922 by the Fire Marshal Association of North America (now the International Fire Marshals Association), the week commemorates The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, a tragic blaze that killed more than 250 people and left 100,000 homeless.

This year's theme, ‘Have Two Ways Out,' addressed the need for families to plan out multiple escape routes in the event that one of their planned escape route is blocked.

Mackell, who realizes the importance of environmental education, conducts a community bonfire once a month — usually the last Saturday of the month — to give people a place to come for good conversation and snacks around the campfire.

“It's a great way for the public to connect with the park and with each other,” said Mackell.

A limited number of mountain pie irons will be available to use. Participants should bring food and drink for their group.

Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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