Smokey The Bear Guidelines

Most American readers of this blog should be familiar with Smokey The Bear. I can hear him say in that deep voice “Only You Can Stop Forest Fires”

But how many of you are aware of the Smokey The Bear guidelines for proper use.

1. Use the costume only to further public information, education, and aware- ness of the
prevention of wildfires.
2. NOT TO SPEAK during appearances. Conversations or explanations should be
carried out by the accompanying official (escort).
3. Never appear in less than full costume.
4. Remain anonymous at every appearance and in any publicity connected with an
appearance. This includes being photographed without the head.
5. Use only costumes that are clean, complete, and in good condition. 6. Keep costume
out-of-sight before and after use.
7. Appear dignified and friendly. Avoid clowning and horseplay.8. Always be accompanied by an appropriately uniformed escort in public appearances,
except where not practical, such as on a parade float where space is limited.
9. Refrain from using alcohol or drugs prior to and during the Smokey Bear appearance.
This condition applies to officials as well.
1. The person wearing the costume must exhibit appropriate animation to be effective.
Express sincerity and interest in the appearance by moving paws, head, and legs.
2. There shall be at least one uniformed escort to accompany the Bear. The escort shall
guide the Bear at the elbow.
3. After donning the costume, the escort shall inspect the suit. Check for the following:
Is the drawstring tucked in?
Is the zipper out of sight?
Are the buttons fastened?
Is the belt firmly fastened to the pants?
Are the pant cuffs neat?
Is the hat crown up?
Is the head straight on the shoulders?
Is the fur brushed generously?
4. A private dressing room is necessary for putting on and taking off the costume.
5. The costumed bear should not force itself on anyone. Do not walk rapidly toward
small children.
6. A round-point shovel is part of the Smokey Bear image. It shall be used for
appearances, when appropriate.
7. The costume becomes hot to the wearer after a very short period. Success has been
noted with the use of compartmentalized vests and “Blue Ice”, and the addition of a
battery-operated fan in the hat. Several cooling options are available from the costume
manufacturers. Limit appearances to 15-20 minute segments to minimize personal
8. After each appearance, check the costume for needed repairs or cleaning. Note this on
the outside of the storage box for immediate follow-up by the owner/manager of the

These guidelines are ruining my plan to create a drunk and disorderly Smokey. He is a bear for heaven’s sake, let him act like a bear. If I were Smokey I’d start out by grabbing picnic baskets.

I’d growl at people and roar at dogs. I don’t even want to tell you what I’d be like at a barbecue.

You want to know the thing that makes me the saddest about this. Well, I was truly interested in seeing Smokey take on Woodsy Owl in an Ultimate Fighting Championship. Woodsy is such a little wimp. I’d like to see Smokey kick his ass up and down that ring, make a man/owl of him.

BTW, as long as we are speaking of Woodsy Boing Boing tipped me off to something. Did you know that there are official guidelines for how to destroy Woodsy.

1. Incinerate the complete costume with the oversight of an official USDA Forest Service law enforcement officer*.

2. The entire Woodsy Owl costume including each of the separate pieces is to be destroyed beyond recognition.

* If you do not have access to an official USDA Forest Service law enforcement representative, arrangements will be made for dealing with your costume by contacting the USDA-FS Washington Office at:

Woodsy Owl
C/o National Symbols Program
P. O. Box 96090
Washington, D. C. 20090-6090

In other words if you are incapable of building a big bonfire or haven’t access to an industrial size furnace these people can help you.

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  1. mist1 January 17, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    I don’t follow Smokey’s advice. You should see my local firefighters. Yum. I’m thinking about becoming an arsonist.

  2. Jack's Shack January 17, 2007 at 6:52 am

    Hi RR,

    You are talking about Iron Eyes Cody.

  3. RR January 17, 2007 at 6:42 am

    Smokey The Bear, Woodsy Owl….ah, the memories! This also makes me think about the crying Indian looking at our polluted world, remember him?

    Give a hoot- don’t pollute!

  4. Jack's Shack January 17, 2007 at 4:56 am


    I know TCBY, used to even get the occasional snack there.


    I remember that line.

  5. Attila January 17, 2007 at 2:04 am

    For some reason, they insist on calling him “Smokey Bear,” without his middle name “The.” “What’s Smokey the Bear’s middle name?” used to be one of my favorite jokes, circa 6th grade.

    I think it was Pat Paulsen who said (on Laugh-In?): “Remember not only you can prevent forest fires; forest fires can prevent you.”

  6. Anonymous January 17, 2007 at 12:13 am

    I love the guidelines. Reminds me of when I worked at TCBY (the yogurt place – do they have them in LA?) and there were all of these strict constitutional laws for making all TCBY locations uniform in appearance and “protocol” (haha). If I had stayed on, there was even a TCBY University where they sent you for mini-courses on cake decorating, etc.

    “Only YOU can prevent forest fires . . . ” Memories!!

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