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Idaho Fire Incident Map

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Idaho Falls District BLM Employee Honored with National Award

Following World War II, visitation to public lands increased significantly.  One of the negative results was a corresponding increase in the number of human-caused forest fires, most due to escaped campfires.  When a little cub rescued from the Lincoln National Forest became the symbol of fire prevention in the United States, the number of human-caused fires dropped.  Today, Smokey Bear is among the most recognized figures in America.


To honor outstanding fire prevention efforts, scrolls were given out as awards.  In 1957, those scrolls were replaced by gilded Smokey Bear statuettes which have since been bestowed on well-deserving groups and individuals annually.  The Smokey Bear Awards are the highest national honor one can receive for outstanding work and significant program impact in wildfire prevention.  There are three levels – Gold, Silver, and Bronze – which represent different geographical spheres of work.  The awards are sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters, the USDA Forest Service, and the Advertising Council.


Kevin Conran, Fire Mitigation and Education Specialist for Idaho Falls District Bureau of Land Management (BLM), was awarded a Silver Smokey Bear Award at a ceremony on Thursday, June 1.  The Silver Award recognizes sustained outstanding regional impact in wildfire prevention over a period of at least two years.  A maximum of five silver awards may be given annually.


Forest Supervisor Garth Smelser with Conran.
“This award reflects a great deal of personal achievement,” said Caribou-Targhee Forest Supervisor Garth Smelser.  “To me, it is also indicative of the successful, long-term partnerships that we share with agencies and departments throughout eastern Idaho.  Kevin has been an integral part of building and maintaining those relationships.”


Mr. Conran was nominated by the Upper Snake Interagency Wildfire Group with support from the East Idaho Fire Chiefs’ Association and Gateway Interagency Fire Front, two multi-agency fire groups in eastern Idaho; the Bridger-Teton and Caribou-Targhee National Forests; and numerous other local fire departments and their members.

Some of Mr. Conran’s notable contributions to wildfire prevention include: 

  • the development of Idaho BLM’s annual Fire Prevention Order,
  • the coordination of a Fire Prevention Co-Op which covers eastern Idaho and western Wyoming,
  • the revitalization of Gateway Interagency Fire Front,
  • the creation of Upper Snake Interagency Wildfire Group,
  • the realization of an Outdoor Explorer Program for children with special needs, and
  • the establishment of new and coordination of existing cooperative agreements among numerous local, state, and federal fire-fighting entities.

L-R:  Smokey Bear; Garth Smelser, Caribou-Targhee Forest Supervisor; Mike Morcom, Idaho BLM State Fire Management Officer; Chris Iverson, Deputy Regional Forester, Forest Service Intermountain Region; Kjell Truesdell, South Operations Chief, Idaho Department of Lands; Kevin Conran; Merlin Miller, Chubbuck Fire Department; and Dave Davis, Madison Fire Department.
The Silver Smokey Bear statuette was presented to Mr. Conran by Madison Fire Department’s Dave Davis and Chubbuck Fire Department’s Merlin Miller.  Members of fire departments across eastern Idaho were in attendance, as were numerous representatives from the U.S. Forest Service’s Intermountain Regional Office, the Idaho BLM State Office, and Idaho Department of Lands.

Smokey Bear poses with Kevin Conran and his family following the ceremony.

For more information on the Smokey Bear Awards, visit