UPDATED July 1, 2020:

Smokey Bear & Sparky The Fire Dog

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Smokey The Bear

Smokey Bear

Smokey Bear was born on August 9, 1944, when the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed that a fictional bear named Smokey would be the symbol for their joint effort to promote forest fire prevention.

Artist Albert Staehle was asked to paint the first poster of Smokey Bear. It depicted a bear pouring a bucket of water on a campfire and saying “Care will prevent 9 out of 10 fires.” Smokey Bear soon became very popular as his image appeared on a variety of forest fire prevention materials. In 1947, his slogan became the familiar “Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires!”

Then in the spring of 1950, in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico, a young bear cub found himself caught in a burning forest. He took refuge in a tree, and while managing to stay alive was left badly burned. The firefighters who retrieved him were so moved by his bravery, they named him Smokey.

News about this real bear named Smokey spread across the Nation, and he was soon given a new home at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The living symbol of Smokey Bear, he played an important role in spreading messages of wildfire prevention and forest conservation. Smokey died in 1976 and was returned to Capitan, New Mexico, where he is buried in the State Historical Park.

In 2009, the Smokey campaign celebrates its 65th anniversary! To find out more about Smokey's story and to learn about preventing forest fires, please visit


Sparky The Firedog

Sparky The Fire Dog


Sparky the Fire Dog has been the official mascot of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) since 1951. Sparky’s mission is to educate children, their parents and educators on fire prevention and public safety. Sparky visits the Williamsburg Fire Department on a regular basis and accompanies the men and women of the department when they visit schools to teach fire safety throughout the city.

Sparky the Fire Dog has his own website with lots of fun activities. Check out a new cool activity and crack the code to find Sparky’s secret message each month

Sparky says...”If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside!”