Cultural and public service icon Smokey Bear turns 75 this month. The long-running campaign for wildfire prevention awareness has led to an estimated 96% of Americans knowing who he is, which puts him in an elite category along with Mickey Mouse and the American President.
In honor of Smokey’s 75th birthday, Sam Elliot, the longtime voice of Smokey, who coincidentally shares an August 9th birthday with Smokey, is stepping aside while Betty White, Stephen Colbert, Jeff Foxworthy, and Al Roker lend their voices to new PSAs from the Ad Council. And this November, look for the return of the Smokey Bear balloon to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He last flew in 1994, in celebration of his 50th birthday.
In February 1942, just a few months after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, a Japanese submarine fired shells at the Ellwood oil fields, near Santa Barbara, CA. The attack did minimal damage, but raised fears. The attack was close to the Los Padres National Forest. With so many deployed overseas in the war effort, America’s firefighter ranks were depleted. The thought that the Japanese may bomb forests in order to create a forest fire as a tool of destruction, or as a tool to help light their path for landing on American soil, was enough to spark action. Read More