Smokey the Bear was a real bear that was saved from a forest fire. His mother was presumed killed in the fire. He became the poster bear for forest fire prevention. The United States Forest Service created the campaign around the fictional character “Smokey the Bear”.
“The living symbol of Smokey Bear was an American black bear who in the spring of 1950 was caught in the Capitan Gap fire, a wildfire that burned 17,000 acres (69 km2) in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico. The cub was in the Lincoln National Forest. Smokey had climbed a tree to escape the blaze, but his paws and hind legs had been burned. He was rescued by a Game Warden after the fire.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smokey_Bear
Smokey Bear, a.k.a. Smokey the Bear, is the longest running PSA campaign in U.S. history. With the coined catch phrase, “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires,” Smokey quickly flooded homes everywhere with magazine placements, giant billboards, nature story comic books, songs and radio commercials, and eventually television sets. There was even a board game created in 1961. The website contains a lot of interesting facts about the campaign, and it also includes an interactive portal for kids, as well as resources for teachers.
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