In the last two weeks, I’ve had two trips canceled because of forest fires. The first one in Yosemite dubbed the Ferguson Fire started outside the park and sparked naturally. Today I just got the news that my other trip up to Hicksville Pines in Idyllwild is off. Some Firebug (aka arson named Brandon McGlover) lit the whole area up. Right now the Cranston Fire is burning out of control in the San Jacinto Mountains. The region is thick with Manzanita which is oil-rich and burns aggressively. The wind is whipping in every direction, and the whole area has been evacuated.
California is on fire, this stirred thoughts of one of my favorite American Icons – Smokey Bear. I’ve always loved ole’ Smokey. He’s been part of our culture since World War II. Here are some quick facts about Smokey you might not know.
1. Smokey was born on August 9th, 1944 and is going to be 74 in two weeks! Artist Albert Staehle painted the first ad featuring Smokey Bear.
2. “Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires!” wasn’t his original catchphrase. The first one was “Smokey Says – Care Will Prevent 9 out of 10 Forest Fires.” that ran for the first three years.
3. Smokey Bear is the LONGEST running public service advertising campaign in the United States.
4. Bambi was the original Smokey. Disney only loaned the doe for a one year contract. It had so much success that the National Forest Service created its own spokesbear.
5. Smoke’s voice currently is Sam Elliott!
For more on Smokey head over to his website