“Remember, there are babes in the woods.”

My favorite forest fire prevention PSA out of all of Smokey’s tireless evangelism is “Death rides the forest when man is careless,” which actually predates him. Born in 1943, “the bear/man” is approaching seventy. Take a walk along his trail map of gracious and patient pleas to see how he has grown up yet never aged.

Smokey has always kept good company. From Bing Crosby, Art Linkletter and James Arness (Gunsmoke) in the 50’s and 60’s  to Spock, The Grateful Dead and Cheech and Chong in 1985 radio spots and Sam Elliott (smokin’ himself) in 2008, the threat has evolved in name, too: from forest fires, range fires and campfires to wildfires and backyard leaf burning. HotFootTeddy was kind enough to lend the website images of all kinds of stuffed Smokeys over the decades. Alas, Smokey was more real before CGI rendered him artificial, less personable and convincing — you know, as hollow as that decayed stump over there.

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