Arlo the ranger


Have you noticed that Smokey Bear know longer says, “Only you can prevent forest fires.” Now, he says, “Only you can prevent wildfires.” I assume this is a combination of two influences: 1) the acknowledgement that fire isn’t necessarily a terrible event in the life of a forest, and 2) the fact much damage caused by “forest fires” these days is to homes in densely populated suburbs, terrain no longer exclusively natural. Anyway, it is “Smokey Bear,” not “Smokey the Bear,” as I myself once thought.

Smokey the BearUpdate: In perusing the old material on the Smokey Bear Web site, it becomes evident that Smokey was, indeed, referred to as “Smokey the Bear” at least well into the 60’s. From his inception in the 40’s, Smokey was referred to as “Smokey the Bear,” “Smokey, the forest fire-preventing bear,” and often just “Smokey” but never “Smokey Bear.” This, my friends, is revisionist history!