On August 9th, 1944, Smokey the Bear was introduced to the world. Today marks Smokey’s 72nd birthday.
For the past seven decades Smokey has warned campers and hikers: “Only you can prevent forest fires!” This message is especially important in light of the wildfires that are currently raging in Idaho.
Those wildfires will eventually be snuffed out, but Smokey the Bear’s message will live on for another 72 years. The much beloved bear is as easily recognized as Santa Claus and Uncle Sam, in part because the official United States Forest Service Smokey Style Manual states that: “Smokey always appears only with his traditional blue jeans, belt, buckle, and 'campaign' hat. Optionally, he carries a shovel… It is inappropriate to show Smokey wearing a three-piece suit or other attire not consistent with the image of Smokey Bear."
Not everything with Smokey is as set in stone. In the early 2000’s the USFS updated his message from “Only you can prevent forest fires!” to “Only you can prevent wildfires.”
There are a few other things you may not already know. Smokey was much more than just a mascot. In fact, there was actually a living Smokey the Bear, click the link to learn about the orphaned black bear that captured the hearts of the nation: The Untold Story of Smokey the Bear.