Smokey Bear Turns 70

Smokey Bear turned 70 last month.  The people at the Ad Council even made this weird video to commemorate it.  Everyone knows Smokey Bear.  He is an true piece of Americana.  He is also a carefully crafted piece of marketing genius.

Smokey Bear is most famous for his catchphrase,”only you can prevent forest fires.”  What people don’t realize is that Smokey Bear is responsible for just about every wildfire you hear about on the news.  The forest systems in the west are dependent on fire.  Before the 1900, fire was an ever present factor in forests but with settlement, an anti fire mentality was fostered and the natural fire cycles were suppressed.  Over time, fuel that would otherwise have been burned off every few years, accumulated.   Now when you have a fire, it turns into a canopy fire and it cannot be controlled just like the Wallow Fire in Arizona that burned 40,000 acres in 8 hours.

The very anti fire mindset that Smokey Bear likes to promote is what causes wildfires.  And what’s even more ironic is National Parks were set aside to be preserved yet they are literally tinderboxes waiting to go up in smoke.  What makes it even more complicated is there is no practical way to defuse the bomb.  Just like we have a tendency to do with wildlife management, humans have tipped the balance the opposite direction and created a whole new set of problems.  We have taken fire out of the forest ecosystems and are now reaping the consequences.  The Forest Service needs to come clean about this issue and instead of wasting money on some stupid bear promoting common sense ideas like not being an irresponsible dipshit and setting the campground on fire,  they need to be addressing what we need to do to reintroduce fire to the ecosystem and begin to mitigate the growing wildfire problem

If by shameful waste, he means the 30 grand per year  the government spends on a Smokey Bear hot air ballon, then yeah, he's right.

If by shameful waste, he means the 30 grand per year the government spends on a Smokey Bear hot air ballon, then yeah, he’s right.

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