Smokey Bear Award winner chosen for exceptional dedication to wildfire prevention

Smokey Bear Awards are reserved for individuals, teams, and organizations that provide outstanding service with significant and sustained program impact in the wildfire prevention arena.

WASHINGTON—The partners behind the wildfire prevention legend Smokey Bear and his public service advertisement campaign—the longest running in United States history—are pleased to announce the 2022 national Smokey Bear Award honoree.

In the world of wildfire prevention, there is no greater honor than to receive a Smokey Bear Award. From the 1950s to today, the Smokey Bear Awards program has been managed by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), the Ad Council, and the USDA Forest Service.

“The 2022 Smokey Bear Award winner is being honored for the dedication, innovation, and energy he brings to wildfire prevention,” said USDA Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “For many years, we have bestowed these awards on only the most deserving people, who like him, show up with the passion and desire to make a difference year after year. We thank him and all of those who continue their dedicated and outstanding work in preventing human-caused wildfires.”

This year’s Silver Smokey Bear Awardee is Mark Wiles, a wildfire mitigation specialist for the Georgia Forestry Commission.

Throughout his 31-year career, Mark Wiles has been dedicated to wildfire prevention awareness. As the leader of several federal Fire Prevention Education Teams (FPETs), Mark has utilized digital billboards, movie theater advertising, social media memes, and strategic in-person Smokey Bear appearances to significantly reduce human-caused wildfire starts in communities across the country.

During a 2016 drought in North Georgia, Mark’s team partnered with local agencies and companies to deploy new forms of prevention media to reach more diverse audiences. While the campaign ran, no human-caused wildfires occurred across the 20-county distribution area. Out west, Mark has led FPET deployments that created and distributed stickers, digital media, and various print materials that brought prevention messaging to “Burning Man” participants in Nevada, backcountry hikers in Wyoming, and people experiencing homelessness throughout Washington and Oregon. Mark was also featured in two recent NPR news stories about wildfire prevention in the U.S. and is the go-to wildfire prevention spokesperson for the Georgia Forestry Commission.

“Mark provides us with a terrific model for developing wildfire prevention programming,” said NASF President and Connecticut State Forester Christopher Martin. “He has used social media memes to appeal to younger generations and created targeted messaging for non-English speakers. He shows us that taking the time to understand the needs of a community, and to build relationships with that community’s influencers, makes a real difference in reducing human-caused wildfires. We commend Mark on this accomplishment and thank him for his valued contributions to wildfire prevention.”

“Mark’s creativity and passion truly embody Smokey Bear’s message of wildfire prevention,” said Ad Council Chief Campaign Development Officer Michelle Hillman. “Now, as wildfire prevention is more important than ever, we thank Mark for his work in helping keep our forests safe from unplanned fires, and congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition.”

The 2022 Smokey Bear Awards will be presented at the 2022 NASF Annual Meeting in Stevenson, Washington, on September 21, 2022. You can get to know Mark Wiles, as well as past winners, with a visit to SmokeyBear.com. The nominations period for the 2023 Smokey Bear Awards will open on Smokey’s 78th birthday: August 9, 2022. News regarding the 2023 nominations period will be published here on NASF’s website and on NASF’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram channels.

Media Contact: Whitney Forman-Cook at wforman-cook@stateforesters.org 

Ad Council
The Ad Council is where creativity and causes converge. The non-profit organization brings together the most creative minds in advertising, media, technology and marketing to address many of the nation’s most important causes. The Ad Council has created many of the most iconic campaigns in advertising history. Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. Smokey Bear. Love Has No Labels. To learn more, visit AdCouncil.org, follow the Ad Council’s communities on Facebook and Twitter and view the creative on YouTube.

USDA Forest Service
The Forest Service is the agency responsible for overseeing the use of Smokey Bear in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council. The Forest Service manages 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands for the American Public. Its mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

National Association of State Foresters
Since its start in 1920, the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) has served as a leading authority on forest management in the United States. NASF’s members are the primary delivery system for forest management activities nationwide. They conserve, enhance, and protect state and private forests, which encompass nearly two-thirds of the nation’s forests, and are responsible for wildfire protection on more than 1.5 billion acres. Learn more at www.stateforesters.org.