Archive for August 24th, 2009

This month marks the birthday of Smokey Bear, who has acted as conservation messenger and protector of America’s forests since August 1944.  As part of a fire prevention campaign, Smokey’s visage on posters, signs, buses, and television commercials has encouraged Americans to complete the phrase, “Only you…”

In honor of our anthropomorphic advocate, we’d like to share just an abbreviated timeline and just a few of the Smokey Bear-related items present in our archival and photographic collections.

1942 – The U.S. entry into World War II following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor made America keenly aware of the vulnerability of U.S. soil and left the homefront bereft of experienced firefighters, many of whom joined the armed forces. Protection of the country’s forests became a national security matter. With the help of the War Advertising Council, the Forest Service organized the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention (CFFP) Program with the National Association State Foresters and launched a fire prevention campaign.


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