Smokey Bear FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is Smokey Bear

Smokey Bear is the internationally recognized symbol of wildfire prevention.  He is managed by the U.S. Forest Service in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council.

2. What is Smokey’s Message?

Only You Can Prevent Wildfires

3. What is the purpose of the Smokey Bear campaign?

The purpose of the Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention Campaign is to create and maintain public awareness, through the image of Smokey Bear, about the need to prevent unwanted human-caused wild land fires.

4. What legal authorities govern the Smokey Bear campaign?

The Smokey Bear Act, (16 U.S.C. 580 (p-2); 18 U.S.C. 711), passed by Congress in 1952, has governed the Smokey Bear campaign for more than half a century.

Download the 1952 Smokey Bear Act (pdf)

5. What messages you can use with Smokey’s image?

  • Prevent Wildfires
  • Remember Only You Can Prevent Wildfires
  • Don’t Play with Matches
  • Drown Your Campfires
  • Help Smokey Prevent Wildfires
  • Smokey’s Friends Don’t Play With Matches
  • 9 Out of 10 Wildfires Are Caused By People

6. What are the guidelines for Smokey Bear appearances?

  • Only State and Federal Agencies may own Smokey Bear costumes
  • In so far as possible, State and Federal employees should wear the Smokey Bear Costume. When you wish others, such as firefighters, scout leaders, and industrial foresters to use the costume, you should be sure they are familiar with these guidelines, and can be depended on to follow them.
  • The Smokey Bear costume shall be used only in programs involving wildfire prevention.
  • Smokey should never appear in less than full costume
  • The wearer of the costume shall be anonymous.
  • Costumes shall not be used unless they are clean, complete, and in good repair.
  • Costumes should be kept under cover before and after they are used, particularly when children are around.
  • Clowning, horseplay, and wisecracks have no place in a costumed Smokey presentation. Smokey should be dignified and friendly, but firm, in presenting his fire prevention message.

For complete information about the use of a Smokey Bear costume and the Smokey Bear image,  Download the Smokey Bear Guidelines (pdf)

7. I am interested in using Smokey's image for a product or publication.  Where can I get information about Smokey Bear licensing?

For information about Smokey Bear licensing, please click here.

8. What are the Smokey Bear awards?

To learn about the Smokey Bear awards, click here.


Smokey Bear