Here are some additional ideas and resources to cultivate more curiosity about Smokey the Bear and the importance of preventing fires:
Do you know the story of Smokey Bear?
Watch a wonderful 5-minute video with lots of interesting information you might not remember or know! Great as a conversation starter with your child.
Fun facts about Smokey Bear
-Smokey Bear got so much mail the U.S. Post Office gave him his own zip code 20252
-Fear of enemy attack starting forest fires during WW2 birthed the idea for fire prevention education
-On loan from Disney, Bambi was the first animal to be used as a fire prevention symbol, proving an animal worked. It was later decided a bear would be the ideal representative for the Forest Service.
-In 1950, firefighters rescued a real bear cub from a forest fire, and he became the “real” Smokey Bear.
-The Junior Forest Ranger Program started in 1952 to teach children about fire prevention. Kids can still become one. Learn more here.
-Smokey’s famous message of “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires” was changed to “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” in 2001.
-Smokey now has his own Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and Flickr accounts, blog and website SmokeyBear.com.
-In 2012, American astronaut Joseph Acaba chose Smokey Bear as his crew mascot to the International Space Station.
Fire prevention still matters
According to Smokey Bear’s website, from 2001 to 2014 almost 63,000 wildfires occurred each year from human carelessness. Those fires burned an average of 2.5 million acres each year. In 2016, information showed just under 9 out of 10 wildfires were still caused by humans nationally. It’s still an improvement considering population growth. But we must continue to be vigilant in being reminded of the need to prevent human-caused wildfires from equipment use, dragging chains, parking on dry grass, backyard debris burning and, of course, campfires.