Smokey Bear turns 75

Happy Birthday! We all love birthdays, right?! It is my excuse to get cake and ice-cream on the same day. Wait, who am I kidding, who needs excuses?

1971 National Park Brochure Archive

1971 National Park Brochure Archive

9 August marks the 75th birthday of Smokey Bear!

He hasn’t retired! He is still going strong, asking for help and teaching us all to protect his home from wildfires. Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention campaign is the longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history. The Smokey Bear campaign began after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Officials feared that explosions near the forests of the Pacific coast would ignite numerous raging wildfires. With experienced firefighters deployed in the war, communities had to deal with wildfires as best they could. The famous catchphrase we now all know, changed in 1947, to "Remember... Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires.”

Ever Wonder the best way to build a campfire?


Best for cooking

  • Teepee: Lay the kindling over the tinder like you’re building a tent.

  • Lean-to: Drive a long piece of kindling into the ground at an angle over the tinder. Lean smaller pieces of kindling against the longer piece.

Best for long-lasting campfires

  • Cross: Crisscross the kindling over the tinder.

  • Log Cabin: Surround your pile of tinder with kindling, stacking pieces at right angles. Top the “cabin” with the smallest kindling.

And for you and me, as always: Play. Protect. Preserve.

Follow Leave No Trace Principle 5: Minimize Campfire Impacts. The most important consideration when deciding to use a fire is the potential damage to the backcountry. Camp in areas where wood is abundant if building a fire. Avoid campfires in higher elevations, in heavily used areas, or in desert settings when there is little wood. Keep your campfire within an existing fire ring in a well-placed campsite. Allow wood to burn completely to ash. Put out fires with water, not dirt.