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Story of Smokey

Explore Smokey Bear’s History

Smokey Bear leans on his mailbox and reads a letter.

Since 1944, Smokey’s been working hard to inspire Americans to prevent wildfires. Follow his history here through memorabilia and print, radio and TV messages.

1941
1941: One of the first Forest Fire Prevention Campaign posters
Men are shoveling dirt to put out a wildfire. The poster reads "Forest defense is national defense."
1944
1944: Pre-Smokey Forest Fire Prevention Poster
A picture of Bambi, Flower, and Thumper reads "Please, mister, don't be careless. Prevent forest fires, greater danger than ever!"
1944: Smokey's first appareance on a Forest Fire Prevention campaign poster
A poster of Smokey pouring water on a fire reads "Smokey says - Care will prevent 9 out of 10 woods fires!"