The most recognizable bear in the woods actually works for the U.S. Forest Service.
Smokey Bear (there's no "the" in his official name) has warned us about the dangers of wildfires since 1944, when the Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention Campaign was launched. It is the longest running public service campaign in U.S. history. The "real" Smokey Bear was a cub found in a tree in the midst of a wildfire in New Mexico's Capitan Mountains in 1950. Badly burned on his paws and hind legs, the cub was rescued and treated. As his condition improved, the New Mexico state game warden presented the cub to the Forest Service with the understanding that he would be dedicated to a publicity program of fire prevention and conservation. He lived out his days at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., as the living symbol of Smokey Bear.
Last updated: February 4, 2015