FAQs about Smokey and Fire

What is a wildfire?

Wildfires are any unwanted, unplanned fires that burn in forests and other wildlands, such as shrub or grass communities. Nearly nine out of 10 wildfires in the United States are caused by humans. The National Interagency Fire Center maintains statistics about wildfire in the United States.

Aren’t some fires good for forests?

Yes. Not all fires, or their effects, are bad for the environment. Some ecosystems depend on periodic fires to maintain the habitats which make up the ecosystem. In these fire adapted areas, fire promotes plant and wildlife diversity and burns away accumulations of live and dead plant material (leaves, branches, trees). Prescribed fire is another type of fire that reintroduces the beneficial effects of fire into an ecosystem, producing the kinds of vegetation and landscapes we want, and reducing the hazard of catastrophic wildfire caused by excessive fuel buildup.

Smokey Bear’s message of prevention is focused on unwanted human-caused wildland fires. Learn more about fire at https://smokeybear.com/en/about-wildland-fire.

Who is Smokey Bear?

Smokey Bear is the internationally recognized symbol of wildfire prevention. He is managed by the USDA Forest Service in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council. Learn more about Smokey's history at www.smokeybear.com

Where can I purchase Smokey Bear products?

Stateforesters.org/store. From classic Smokey Bear posters to rulers and our best-selling pocket calendar, NASF's educational materials store helps support the essential conservation education and fire prevention efforts of educators, foresters, fire departments, and other agencies and organizations. These materials are to be distributed free to the public for educational purposes and cannot be resold. 

How can I meet Smokey Bear?

Contact your state forestry agency to schedule a Smokey Bear appearance and wildfire prevention education presentation.

How can I feature a Smokey Bear advertisement?

All Smokey Bear advertisements are part of a long-standing public service campaign that relies on donated media. Download Smokey Bear wildfire prevention PSAs at www.psacentral.org/campaign/Wildfire_Prevention.

What is the best way to maintain a campfire?

Select the right spot, prepare a campfire pit, build the fire properly, and learn how to properly maintain and extinguish a campfire. Download Smokey Bear's campfire safety guide for a portable checklist of campfire tips.

Proper Use of Smokey Bear

Download the Smokey Bear Guidelines.


Amanda Cooke
Communications Director
National Association of State Foresters

Allyse Depenbrock
Assistant Campaign Manager
The Ad Council

Gwen Beavans
National Fire Prevention Coordinator
USDA Forest Service