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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!"
1945
1945: Stamps
A squirrel on a stamp says "Another enemy to conquer. Forest fires."
1946
1946: Stamps
Poster reads "Prevent forest fires! Use the ash tray."
1946: Stamps
Poster reads "Prevent forest fires! Crush out your cigarette."
1946: Posters
Smokey Bear points to a chalkboard of a hand holding a match. The poster reads "Smokey Says...hold 'til it's cold...prevent forest fires."
1947
1947: Stamps
A poster reads "please folks, be extra careful this year!"
1947: U.S. & State Forest Services Stamp
Poster reads "Prevent forest fires! Put your pipe ashes in bare earth."
1947: U.S. & State Forest Services Stamp
A stamp that reads "Please folks, be extra careful this year!"
1948
1948: U.S. & State Forest Services Stamp
A stamp of Smokey Bear praying saying "...and please make people careful, amen."
1949
1949: U.S. & State Forest Services Stamp
A stamp that reads "Another 30 million acres will burn this year - unless you are careful."
1949: Campaign to Prevent Forest, Woods, and Range Fires
Smokey stands with his mouth open and some other forest animals. The poster reads "Another 30 million acres will burn this year. Remember only you can prevent forest fires."