Filson and the U.S. Forest Service Collaborate to Raise Awareness About Forest Fires

Climate change seems to be the buzzword of 2017 and for good reason: Record temps and record rains with equally record droughts plus that iceberg the size of Delaware that just decided to break free. Also, forest fires have been in the news now almost year round.

Some not so fun fire facts:

  • Climate change worsens drought and other conditions, which are expected to increase areas of severe burns by 50-100 percent by 2050.
  • Wildfires in the United States typically burn between 4 million and 9 million acres each year.
  • In 2015, 58,916 human-caused wildfires burned over 2 million acres alone.
  • There are 140 million people with 40 million homes living in fire-prone areas in the United States.

Filson has been hard at work forging a partnership with the United States Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation (NFF), the nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service. The main goal of this collaboration is telling the unsung stories of the heroes of the U.S. Forest Service. It’s a love letter to the agency, recognizing the invaluable and irreplaceable role the agency and the individuals within it have played in our collective outdoor experiences, whether it’s building trails and roads so that we have access to the places that we choose to spend our free time, or literally protecting our homes and livelihoods when wildfires break out.

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We have been working with Filson to interview some of the firefighters they photographed from the North Western Smokejumpers out of Redmond Air Center (near Redmond, Oregon). Unfortunately, they are too busy putting out fires (in the literal sense) to speak to us.

We did get to speak to Filson’s Creative Director, Alex Carleton who said, “From its legacy of stewardship managing 193 million acres of public lands and natural resources to its steadfast commitment to serve ‘the greatest good for the greatest number in the long run,’ the U.S. Forest Service embodies the ethos of the Filson brand and our customers.” He continues, “We have a fundamental belief that our country’s greatness is rooted in its natural resources, and we’re happy to collaborate with the organization responsible for managing those resources.”

Interestingly, Filson was one of the original approved apparel suppliers to the U.S. Forest Service back in 1905 and in honor of that shared history, they’ve also created an extremely limited collection of products with the U.S. Forest Service logo that debuts today. The collection includes classic Filson styles along with some new pieces, in colorways and logo treatments they’ve never done before–like black on black Tin Jackets with black U.S. Forest Service logos. There are also large blankets woven with the USFS shield at the Original Mill in Pendleton, Oregon, enamel mugs, water bottles, a beanie, tees and one good looking watch.

In addition to the great gear on offer, NFF and a group of volunteers from Filson, with assistance from other local partners, are completing restoration work on the Heybrook Lookout Tower in Index, Washington. An important fixture in the history of Washington State forestry, as it is one of only two fire lookout towers in the state available for the public to reserve, the tower was deemed unsafe for overnight stays in 2015. When the tower is re-opened to the public later this summer, it will be an ideal place for outdoor enthusiasts to escape to for recreation in the beautiful forests of the Central Cascades.

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“We’re excited to be partnering with Filson, which understands and appreciates the Pacific Northwest’s rich outdoor heritage,” said Jim Peña, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester. “Working together, we’ll be able to restore the Heybrook Lookout Tower and help tell the story of the many ways national forests contribute to the people and communities of the Pacific Northwest.”

Smokey the Bear couldn’t be happier.