One of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s partners in fighting or preventing wildfires turns 75 this year. One partner almost everybody knows – Smokey Bear which lends an assist in his 75th anniversary year. The affable bear was created in 1944 amidst World War II concerns that America’s valuable forests could be harmed by accident or arson. Many generations can remember Smokey appearing at public events, schools or in ads.
Many sent a card or letter by U.S. Mail to receive a return letter, badge and song lyrics confirming them as an official Smokey ranger.
They pledged to spread the word, “Remember, Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires.”
Today, Smokey has a website, a Twitter account and a new slogan: “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.” The change recognizes fire dangers in grasslands, woodlands and farming country as well as forests. Smokey points out the value of natural resources to people.