Smokey’s story began because of World War II. On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor. There was also a fear that incendiary shells exploding in the forests of the Pacific Coast would ignite numerous raging wildfires.
Because of that fear, Smokey Bear was created on August 9, 1944, when the USDA Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed that a fictional bear named Smokey would be their symbol for forest fire prevention.
Since 1944, Smokey Bear has taught millions of Americans about their role in preventing wildfires.