Smokey Bear has been the voice of fire prevention for many years. Popular with young and old alike, his messages encouraging fire safety and being careful with fire remain relevant in our efforts to prevent wildfires.
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 U.S. Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council. DOF has been a part of the campaign history and development dating back to 1950.
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. Despite the campaign’s success over the years, wildfire prevention remains a critical issue, making Smokey’s message as relevant and urgent today as it was in 1944.
Smokey Bear Prevention Materials
A great resource for more information on Smokey Bear, outdoor burning safety, and fun activities for all ages is the official website of Smokey Bear.
How to Schedule a Visit from Smokey
Educators and others planning an event that could use a visit from Smokey Bear should contact their local DOF office to discuss the program and Smokey’s appearance. There is no charge for any Smokey appearance or for any wildfire prevention/Smokey Bear educational materials that may be provided.
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