Smokey The Bear

Smokey The Bear

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Smokey the Bear is a mascot character featured in public service announcements highlighting the importance of fire prevention in the United States, particularly in areas where wildlife is present. On the Internet, the bear is commonly characterized as a violent figure that will exact vengeance upon those that damage the environment, knowingly or unknowingly.


Smokey the Bear was originally introduced in 1944 after propaganda rose to prominence during World War II.[1] The first poster featuring the mascot (shown below) was released on August 9th of that year, reminding hikers to put out their campfires after they were finished using them. The character grew greatly in popularity in the following years, appearing in a variety of media and even serving as the namesake for legislation on fire safety.


On June 10th, 2004, Something Awful created a “Photoshop Phriday” contest that called upon users to re-caption several famous pictures of Smokey, which yielded at least 42 image submissions.[2] Many of these images portrayed Smokey as a furious or uncaring individual that often threatened the people he addressed. One user uploaded an image juxtaposing the character with dialogue from the 1982 film Conan The Barbarian (shown below, left), while another user uploaded an image of an army of machines from The Terminator destroying a forest (shown below, middle), and yet another uploaded an Alternate Universe in which Star Wars character Chewbacca served a similar role to Smokey (shown below, right).

Sometime later, a series of Image Macros featuring Smokey appeared on QuickMeme, with each image obtaining at least 100 shares.[3] The most popular image (shown below) features a snowclone on Smokey’s famous message – “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires”.

On June 26th, 2013, Redditor MollyMcShivers posted a thread revealed that her home town was burned down, and took a photograph that showed a cloud that bore appearance to Smokey.[4] The thread received more than 3250 upvotes and gained over 800 comments.

On January 26th, 2014, Smokey’s official Twitter account featured a supportive message toward musician Pharrell Williams following his performance at the 2014 VMAs.[5] The message was Retweeted over 3,950 times, and gained over 1,720 favorites.

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