Most Americans are familiar with Smokey Bear, the symbol of fire prevention. Many have heard the story of how a small cub was saved from a fire in the Lincoln National Forest of New Mexico, whisked off to Washington, D.C., and became the star of a publicity campaign to protect our forests from fires. But how many of you know, he wasn’t the original? The prevention campaign actually was created using a cartoon bear character in 1944. It wasn’t till 6 years later, that the live, little, bear cub survived the Capitan Gap Fire and became the headliner.
The USFS considers August 9th, 1944, the day the creation of Smokey Bear was authorized by them, as his official birthday. To this day, the iconic bear – in his signature Forest hat with a shovel at his ready – encourages all to prevent wildfires and conserve wildlife.
The Volunteers of the Angeles National Forest were hoping to celebrate Smokey’s birthday this year in August at their new digs located in Big Pines Visitor Center with Smokey’s fire fighting buddies along with arts, crafts, games, and birthday cake. BUT, Unfortunately due to USFS and Covid-guidelines, the Volunteers of the Angeles National Forest will NOT be able to host Smokey’s Birthday Party.
The Visitor Center with its helpful volunteer staff and fascinating displays will still be open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10am to 4pm, so please do drop in and visit.