Today is Smokey Bear’s 69th birthday and everyone at SFI couldn’t be more grateful for his work in protecting the forests. We recently got to spend a little time with Smokey at the Boy Scout Jamboree, and here he is with his friend Woodsy Owl on their way to meet the Boy Scouts. So thank you Smokey for all you’ve done to educate us on wildfire prevention and conservation! Be sure to check out Smokey’s Facebook page to send a happy birthday wish and share this post with friends using #SmokeyBearHugs.
A real-life “Smokey” had its roots in a 1950 forest fire in New Mexico. A small bear cub took refuge in a tree that was in the path of the fire. While climbing the tree saved the cub’s life, he was badly burned on his paws and hind legs.
A soldier removed the bear from the tree. He was flown to Santa Fe, where his burns were treated and his legs and paws were bandaged.
News about the bear spread through New Mexico and the nation. New Mexico’s state game warden gave the cub to the chief of the Forest Service with the understanding the bear would be dedicated to a publicity program stressing fire prevention and conservation.
The bear was placed at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and became the living symbol of Smokey Bear.