The Smokey Bear Story

Map of Ellwood Oil Fields Damaged by Japanese Shelling Off California Coast

Ellwood Oil Fields Where Japanese Submarines Attacked in 1942

During World War II, Japanese submarines off of the Santa Barbara Coast fired shells making an oil field explode near the Los Padres National Forest. This created a fear in Americans. People were concerned that wildfire could be used as a war tactic in the forests off of the Pacific Coast. The Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention (CFFP) program was created to bring light to wildfire prevention by reducing the number of human caused fires. Eventually, this program led to the creation of Smokey Bear as an influential wildfire prevention icon. Smokey is now recognized by 96% of adults – a recognition rate that is comparable to that of the President and Mickey Mouse!

Smokey Bear’s Involvement With Wildfire Prevention

Wildfire Prevention Poster With Animals From Disney Movie Bambi

Original CFFP Bambi Wildfire Prevention Poster

In 1944, the CFFP program decided to use Bambi characters as symbols for fire prevention on a poster. Using the Disney animals as symbols for wildfire prevention was successful, so the U.S. Forest Service authorized CFFP to create its own animal symbol – Smokey Bear. Smokey’s first appearance was on a wildfire prevention poster in 1944. Initially, his catch phrase was “Smokey says – Care Will Prevent 9 out of 10 Forest Fires.” Then, his slogan changed to “Remember… Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires” in 1947. By 1952, Smokey Bear was attracting commercial interest, so an Act of Congress removed him from public domain and placed him under the Secretary of Agriculture. The fees and royalties collected for the use of Smokey Bear are used for wildfire prevention education. Currently, Smokey’s catch phrase is, “Only YOU Can Prevent Wildfires.”

The Smokey Bear Mascot

In 1950, a young bear cub sought refuge in a tree during a fire in the Capitan Mountains in New Mexico. He was burned badly, so firefighters saved him. The bear cub’s touching story earned him the name ‘Smokey.’ The bear cub’s moving story gained a permanent home at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. He became the living symbol of Smokey Bear. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1976. Smokey was buried in State Historical Park in Capitan, New Mexico. Now, the park is named Smokey Bear Historical Park after his legacy.

Sign in Smokey Bear Historical Park Noting the Location Where Smokey Bear Was Found

Smokey Bear Historical Park Where the Smokey Bear Mascot Was Found

Smokey Bear Fun Facts

• His name is Smokey Bear, not Smokey the Bear. This naming confusion came from a song written as an ode to Smokey, and the songwriters added ‘the’ to improve the rhythm.

• Smokey receives so many letters that he even has his own zip code – the President is the only other individual with his own zip code. Anyone can send a letter to Smokey Bear at “Smokey Bear, Washington, DC 20252.”

• He is a Disney Star! Smokey made an appearance in a Walt Disney movie In the Bag.

• Smokey Bear has a Twitter @smokey_bear

Sources

www.smokeybear.com
https://www.fs.usda.gov/features/story-smokey-bear
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/brief-history-smokey-bear-180972549/

10 Busiest Fire Stations in the U.S.

A 2018 survey by Firehouse Magazine identified the 100 busiest fire stations in the nation in terms of call volume. Using the survey, RedZone has mapped out the top ten. See the interactive map below for more details. Also, see 2012’s busiest fire departments in RedZone’s previous blog.

busy fire stations

Top Ten Busiest U.S. Fire Stations in 2018

Read more

New South Wales Bushfires Rage On

The Bushfires in New South Wales (NSW), Australia are still burning. Officials have declared a state of emergency for the third time for NSW this fire season. The majority of the state is under a high to a very high fire danger rating with catastrophic conditions. There have been seventeen deaths reported across Australia, with most of them being in NSW. The bushfires have destroyed over 900 houses and 2,000 outbuildings.

Read more

bushfire smoke

Bushfire Activity Erupts in New South Wales

Over 365,000 acres have burned along the eastern coast of Australia in the New South Wale (NSW), the country’s most populous state. As a result, officials declared a state of emergency for the entire state, as conditions have reached “catastrophic”, the nation’s highest bushfire danger rating. Tragically, three people have died while over 150 structures have been destroyed. Even worse, included in those destroyed was a wildlife sanctuary near Port Macquarie, which was home to as many as 350 koalas.

Read more

palisades fire thumbnail

Palisades Fire Prompts Evacuations near Santa Monica

Just sixteen miles south of last week’s Saddleridge Fire, the Palisades Fire burned 40 acres between Palisades Dr and Charmel Ln in steep terrain yesterday afternoon, quickly spreading and prompting evacuations of a neighborhood of Pacific Palisades. Fortunately, hard work from air and ground crews saved the 200 homes that were threatened from damage or destruction and all have since been repopulated. This morning’s incident briefing portrayed a mop-up and perimeter-control day ahead of the crews. A direct ground attack is the main plan for the two divisions, with dozer(s) cleared to improve a nearby fire road, and an Structure Protection Group working the previously evacuated neighborhoods.

Read more

helo wildfire

Saddleridge Fire Burns 5000+ Acres in Los Angeles

A fast-growing, wind-driven fire sparked near Yarnell Road off Interstate 210 just north of Sylmar in northern Los Angeles around 2100 PST Thursday night. By late Thursday it was less than 100 acres burning parallel to the 210 Freeway. Overnight, the fire grew to more than 4,000 acres jumping both the I-5 and I-210, burning into neighborhoods. The western branch of the fire got established near the I-5 and began burning westerly through medium to heavy brush threatening thousands of homes in the Porter Ranch and Granada Hills areas. The original fire or eastern branch has backed upslope with topography and is growing to the north and east above Sylmar. At least 25 homes were damaged reported in the morning press conference. 1,000 firefighters are working the fire, along with numerous helicopters and air resources. Additional resources will be implemented with the daylight, including 2 super scoopers. Angeles National Forest officials are in a unified command with Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County fire departments.

Read more

Autumn and Santa Ana Winds

Fall Means Santa Ana Winds

Annually, the onset of the fall and winter seasons brings the highest chance for Southern California’s famed Santa Ana winds. Historically, the worst fires in Southern California in terms of speed of growth and destruction are linked to these hot, dry wind events. The last two years, a strong and persistent Santa Ana event was a major player in the spread of both 2017’s Thomas fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara and last year’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. 

Read more

Mann Gulch Fire – 70th Anniversary

August 5th, 2019 marked the 70th year anniversary for the Mann Gulch Fire and tragedy. The fire was discovered on August 5th, 1949 after being started by lightning the night before. 15 firefighters jumped into the fire area to try an keep it small, but and were overtaken by the fire when a change in winds caused the canyon to “blow-up” with them in it. The event killed the district ranger and 12 of the 15 firefighters not long after they arrived on the scene.

Read more

Doug Lannon and Cal Fire Department

Operation Santa Ana – 20 Year Anniversary

June 2019 marked the 20th year anniversary for Operation Santa Ana. Doug Lannon, a retired Cal Fire Assistant Chief from the San Bernardino Unit and current Senior Wildfire Liaison for RedZone, served as the keynote speaker to kick off the training event for this year’s inspection assignments at the Southern California Edison Inc. Training and Educational Facility.

Read more

GIS and the Fire Service

With the duties assigned to fire agencies becoming more daunting as the population continues to grow, and climatic conditions favor worse fire behavior, the service has adopted GIS as a means to combat these ever changing factors. In this blog, I briefly touch on some of the aspect that GIS software programs have been implemented in the fire service to help mitigate some of the issues related to the disasters they face on a daily basis.

Read more