Logo bar of the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers which are located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Tok and Ketchikan
A wet brown bear searches for a tasty salmon.
text size
Printer Friendly
Smokey Bear
A 1940's Smokey Bear poster.
Forest Service

What Started Smokey Bear and Fire Prevention
The USDA Forest Service tradition of preventing man-made forest fires started during World War II, when timber was a precious resource for armed forces. The Forest Fire prevention campaign has helped to reduce acres lost, due to forest fires, from 22 million (in 1944) to 6.5 million annually today.

Smokey's History
In 1944, Disney's motion picture Bambi joined the effort as the subject of Forest Service fire prevention posters. In 1945, Bambi was replaced by a cartoon Smokey Bear illustrated by Albert Staehle. Smokey's official birthday is August 9, 1944.

The Smokey Bear symbol became a live bear almost six years later in 1950, when forest fire fighters found an orphaned, burned bear cub from Lincoln National Forest near Captain, New Mexico. The bear recovered quickly and soon after was dubbed Smokey Bear and moved to his new home in the National Zoo in Washington D.C.


Today, Smokey still works hard to teach respect for fire. Although the Forest Service sometimes sets fires these days in order to restore natural conditions, Smokey's message of self-responsibility with campfires and recreation in the outdoors remains the same today.

Remember- Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires!

Smokey Bear Neighbor PSA

Smokey Bear- Bambi (1964)

Note: This Embedded video resides on the official USFS and Smokey Bear YouTube channel


Shipwreck Cove Fire 2013. Photo by AlaskaNPS. Fire facts Members of the U.S. Coast Guard Fire and Rescue practice in Kodiak. Smokey Bear

Two sockeye salmon ready for spawning. The fish have red bodies with green heads and tails. The background shows a rocky stream bed. Did You Know?
Alaska has the longest salmon run in the world. The salmon swim 2,000 miles up the Yukon River every year.