Smokey Bear Fun Facts

HELLO! I’M SMOKEY BEAR.

 

I need your help!  My forest friends and I need healthy forests and wildlands to live in.  Help stop our homes from being destroyed by wildfires.  Learn with me about the prevention of wildland fires.  Only you can prevent wildfires.

 

While at home or on camping trips, follow these important safety tips….

campfire

Fire Safety Tips

Campfire Safety

campfireHow to Pick Your Campfire Spot

Follow these steps when picking your campfire spot to help prevent wildfires.

1.  DO NOT build a campfire if the campground, area or event rules prohibit them.  Sometimes digging of pits may be prohibited due to archaeological or other concerns.

2. DO NOT build a campfire in hazardous, dry conditions.

3. FIND OUT if the campground has an existing fire ring or fire pit.

4. If there is not an existing fire pit, and pits are allowed, choose a site at least 15 feet from tent walls, shrubs, trees or other flammable objects.  Beware of low hanging branches.

5. Choose an open, level location away from heavy fuels such as logs, brush or decaying leaves.

6. Take wind, and its direction, into account when choosing the site.  Choose a spot that’s protected from gusts.

 

No pit? No problem.  When a prepared pit isn’t available, follow these important safety tips while building your own.

 

 

Now that you’ve prepared your pit, it’s time to build your campfire.  Follow these steps to have a safe and fun time.  The same also applies to hunters’ warming fires.

 

 

A campfire can be one of the best parts of camping, or provide necessary warmth to hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts. Just don’t forget your responsibility to maintain and extinguish it to prevent wildfires.

 

Backyard Debris Burning

Understand how to prevent wildfires from backyard debris burning.

Learn before you burn.  When burning yard waste and debris, follow these important steps…

 

The Story of Smokey

Smokey Bear History

The Orphan Cub

One spring day in 1950, in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico, an operator in one of the fire towers spotted smoke and called the location in to the nearest ranger station. The first crew discovered a major wildfire sweeping along the ground between the trees, driven by a strong wind. Word spread rapidly, and more crews reported to help. Forest rangers, local crews from New Mexico and Texas, and the New Mexico State Game Department set out to gain control of the raging wildfire.

As the crew battled to contain the blaze, they received a report of a lone bear cub seen wandering near the fire line. They hoped that the mother bear would return for him. Soon, about 30 of the firefighters were caught directly in the path of the fire storm. They survived by lying face down on a rockslide for over an hour as the fire burned past them.

Nearby, the little cub had not fared as well. He took refuge in a tree that became completely charred, escaping with his life but also badly burned paws and hind legs. The crew removed the cub from the tree, and a rancher among the crew agreed to take him home. A New Mexico Department of Game and Fish ranger heard about the cub when he returned to the fire camp. He drove to the rancher’s home to help get the cub on a plane to Santa Fe, where his burns were treated and bandaged.

Smokey Bear History

Orphaned black bear cub “Little Smokey” was the live representation of Smokey Bear from 1975 to his death in 1990. Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

Rescued!

News about the little bear spread swiftly throughout New Mexico. Soon, the United Press and Associated Press broadcast his story nationwide, and many people wrote and called, asking about the cub’s recovery. The state game warden wrote to the chief of the Forest Service, offering to present the cub to the agency as long as the cub would be dedicated to a conservation and wildfire prevention publicity program. The cub was soon on his way to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., becoming the living symbol of Smokey Bear.

Smokey received numerous gifts of honey and so many letters he had to have his own zip code. He remained at the zoo until his death in 1976, when he was returned to his home to be buried at the Smokey Bear Historical Park in Capitan, New Mexico, where he continues to be a wildfire prevention legend.

Smokey History

In 1952, Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins wrote the popular anthem that would launch a continuous debate about Smokey’s name. To maintain the rhythm of the song, they added “the” between “Smokey” and “Bear.” Due to the song’s popularity, Smokey Bear has been called “Smokey the Bear” by many adoring fans, but, in actuality, his name never changed. He’s still Smokey Bear.

More Fun with Smokey Bear

Smokey Bear Coloring Pages

Smokey Bear's History

Smokey Bear Song

Videos

Smokey Bear

Created in 1944, the Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention campaign is the longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history, educating generations of Americans about their role in preventing wildfires. As one of the world's most recognizable characters, Smokey's image is protected by U.S. federal law and is administered by the USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council. Despite the campaign's success over the years, wildfire prevention remains one of the most critical issues affecting our country. Smokey's message is as relevant and urgent today as it was in 1944. Smokey’s original catchphrase was "Smokey Says – Care Will Prevent 9 out of 10 Forest Fires." In 1947, it became "Remember... Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires." In 2001, it was again updated to its current version of "Only You Can Prevent Wildfires" in response to a massive outbreak of wildfires in natural areas other than forests and to clarify that Smokey is promoting the prevention of unwanted and unplanned outdoor fires versus prescribed fires.
Smokey Bear
Smokey Bear is with Carlos Mora Navarro.19 hours ago
Honor #EarthDay and prevent a wildfire from starting.
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Smokey Bear4 days ago
Raise a paw if you've been!
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Smokey Bear is with Jim Salkind.6 days ago
Thinking of lighting a campfire, a BBQ or burning debris? Get that bucket of water ready before you light it up.
Smokey Bear
Smokey Bear1 week ago
Getting ready to run bear foot through an open field. What are you doing this Sunday?
Smokey Bear
Smokey Bear shared a post.1 week ago
Heading on a weekend roadtrip? Don't forget to make sure your tow chains aren't dragging. That helps prevent them from creating sparks while you hit the road!
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