Smokey & Me

We had a lot of deadly (killing someone) forest fires in California in the past few months, so it’s a good time to talk about Smokey the Bear.

“Smokey Bear,” often called “Smokey the Bear,” is a mascot (a cartoon animal or other character that represents a team or organization) for the United States Forest Service, the federal agency that protects America’s forests (areas with many trees).

Smokey the Bear first appeared in an advertising campaign in 1944 with the slogan (a saying used in marketing and advertising) of “Smokey says care will prevent nine out of 10 forest fires.”

Today, most people associate Smokey the Bear with a different slogan: “Only you can prevent forest fires.”

Smokey the Bear was created to encourage people to be more cautious (careful) in order to prevent forest fires, especially by selecting appropriate sites (places) for campfires (fires burned for cooking, heat, and entertainment while outdoors) away from tree branches.

People were also encouraged to douse (pour water over) campfires before leaving them unattended (without someone nearby and watching something).

Smokey the Bear is depicted (shown) as a drawing of a brown bear wearing jeans and a large hat with his name in red letters, holding a shovel (tool with a long handle used for digging and moving dirt) (see photo).

Smokey can be found in television ads, promotional materials distributed at national parks and in schools, and even as a walking mascot at national parks.

A large advertising organization reports that 95% of adults and 77% of American children recognize Smokey the Bear and his message.

But some people argue that the campaign has been too successful in vilifying (making something seem bad or evil) wildfires. People have been taught that all forest fires are bad.

In reality, some forest fires are necessary to maintain forest health.

In the photo, you can see me standing next to Smokey the Bear at a local museum here in Los Angeles. I’m holding an imaginary shovel to help him, but he doesn’t look too happy to see me.


Before You Go . . .
Get our FREE, 9-Page Special Report
“5 Things You MUST Know to Improve Your English”

Learn how to improve your English faster than ever with the latest, research-proven methods. Download it to find out more!

Just fill out your first name and email address below to get it:

This entry was posted in Life in the United States. Bookmark the permalink.