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The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

Smokey the Bear Returns

Most of us remember growing up with Saturday-morning PSAs featuring Smokey the Bear, the gentle cartoon bruin in a U.S. Forest Service hat, kindly reminding us of his famous credo: "Only you can prevent forest fires." That ad spot, Thundercats, and a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch pretty much encapsulates my childhood.

Well, as of today, Smokey the Bear is back — bigger, badder, and more computer-generated than ever before. The Ad Council has teamed once again with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) to reawaken a new generation to the dangers humans play in starting forest fires with a major wave of television, radio, print, outdoor, and Web ads.

But he's not exactly the same bear; a lot's changed since his introduction in 1944. For one, he's clearly been working out, and while his shirtlessness before seemed merely appropriate for a bear, now it seems almost...intimidating. He's also in the business of creepily morphing out of anyone he pleases, T-1000-style. Check it out for yourself:


I had no plans to spark an ATV in a tinder-laden forest, but consider me scared straight nonetheless. As a slogan, "Get Your Smokey On" sounds perhaps a bit too much like parents trying to rap circa 2002, but the prospect of anyone in the world spontaneously changing into a towering, guilt-tripping bear ought to get the message across nicely.

Bonus: Can you guess the new celebrity voice of Smokey (when he's not possessing people, of course)? Click here for the answer.

— Ted Alvarez

Smokey The Bear (Official Page)

  Smokey Bear Returns with a New Look to Remind Americans Only You Can Prevent Wildfires (PR Newswire)

READERS COMMENTS

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S Jackson
Jul 23, 2008

ATVs and Dirt Bikes require spark arrestors. In my area, I'm not aware of any wildfires caused directly by an OHV. OHV users and non-motorized users who don't practice safe campfire practices cause fires. OHV's don't necessarily cause a fire themselves.

Its not Santa the Claus
Jun 16, 2008

Its Smokey Bear not Smokey the Bear. Check you AP stylebook Ted.

Tim Colman
Jun 03, 2008

Dear Smokey,

Great to prevent forest fires from arsonists and thoughtless ones walking around with nothing to do.

But we also need to get the story out that forest fires are crucial to a forest's health and life cycle.

I was at the bottom of Yosemite Valley in May and enjoyed seeing all the new growth coming back from forest fires that have repeatedly burned down part of the park's forests.

In fact-- one of the threats to the Giant Sequoias-- a species at Yosemite and further south at Giant Sequoia Monument -- needs more forest fires to thrive.

Forest fires clear out competing trees, ground debris and make the soil good for the giants to plant their seeds.

Forest Fire's are not all or nothing the way Smokey puts it. We have to figure out a balance.

Timothy Colman
Good Nature Publishing
http://www.goodnaturepublishing.com





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