By Kiera Quigley
Since 1944, Smokey Bear has been teaching Americans about their role in preventing wildfires. Today, we celebrate the 74 years of the Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention campaign, the longest-running public service campaign in U.S. history.
Recognized by 8 out of 10 Americans, Smokey is a household name. But how much do you really know about this iconic bear? Here are some Smokey facts you may not know:
- Smokey Bear was a real bear! In 1950, a lone bear cub was rescued from a wildfire in New Mexico and became the living symbol of Smokey.
- The cub that became Smokey got so many letters and gifts, he had to have his own zip code!
- Before Smokey became the face of fire prevention, Disney’s “Bambi” was used for this messaging.
Perhaps the most important Smokey fact is that his message is still as relevant as ever. With so many destructive wildfires blazing around the country — and most of them human-caused! Did you know that nine out of ten wildfires are started by humans? — the fire prevention skills that Smokey has been teaching us for years are critical. Visit https://smokeybear.com/en to see the work that Smokey is doing in 2018 and how you can help him share his message.
Kiera Quigley is NASF's 2018 Summer James Hubbard Intern for Policy and Communications. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.