Posted on

Celebrating 78 years of Smokey Bear

The iconic bear has an interesting story that not everyone knows. The character we have come to know and love started out a poster ad campaign in 1944 by the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention program. The first poster (below) was published on October 10 with Smokey extinguishing a fire with a bucket of water.

Smokey would star in many more posters and advertisements in the coming years to educate the American people of how to prevent forest fires. Soon the saying “Only you can prevent wildfires” would be a well known message known throughout the country. Who knew it would be still going strong 78 years later?

1944 – Smokey Bear’s first poster.
1946 – Smokey poster.

In 1950 a cub that was caught and badly injured in a wildfire in New Mexico would take over the already established character of Smokey Bear. Stealing the hears of the American people Smokey soon would be such a big star he would have his own zip code for all the mail and gifts he received.

This little cub helped seal the deal for the Smokey Bear character to becoming what he is today… a world-wide known icon for helping prevent wildfires and preserving wildlife and our land in this beautiful country.

Smokey Bear admiring his poster.
Smokey was a hungry growing cub.
Smokey at his home at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.