When Smokey Bear says, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires,” he’s talking to humans. But humans aren’t the only ones who can help. Beavers, North America’s largest rodents, are succeeding at fighting fires and reducing wildfire destruction. It’s common sense. Water, soggy ground and well-hydrated vegetation reduce fire’s ability to spread. Beavers create deep ponds by building dams, then dig fingerlike canals to slowly spread that water throughout the flood plain. The stream’s reduced speed allows collected water to seep into the ground where it encourages deep plant roots and an abundance of wildlife to thrive.  …Of course, beavers don’t know they are also creating very effective firebreaks, or obstacles to the spreading of fire. But scientists are taking notice. …Scientists need data to convince others to consider workable solutions to problems such as rising average temperatures and drought.