Only YOU: The Best Smokey Bear Videos Ever Made
Wildfire season is upon us. As a friendly reminder that wildfires season is just around the corner, we put together a collection of some of the best Smokey Bear video ad campaigns from decades past.
It’s wildfire season, and the summer of 2019 is already being predicted to be a challenging year for fighting wildfires. Fires can be an important part of healthy ecosystems, but in 2018, the northwest saw one of the longest seasons on record, with large, hot wildfires continuing well into fall. By September of last year, 300,000 acres had burned across the state of Washington.
With new research showing that nearly 8 in 10 wildfires are human-caused, we thought it was a good time to see what Smokey Bear had to say.
Smokey Bear: ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT WILDFIRES
Created in 1944, Smokey Bear is the longest-running public service ad (PSA) campaign in U.S. history. Over the years, Smokey has tried many different approaches to educating hikers and campers about fire safety, from delightful to, well, dark.
We delved into the Smokey Bear video archive to bring you some of the very best (and weirdest) wildfire safety messages ever made.
If you only watch one video, this is it
In the modern "nature documentary" style series, Smokey teaches humans how to put our fires out (and how to dump ashes). Is it the best PSA ever made? No (that's below), but it is an entertaining, educational one-minute watch.
The best Smokey Bear PSA ever made
This 1968 classic, narrated by Rod Serling of "The Twilight Zone" is a thing of perfection.
In which children shame their parents
There's a whole genre of Smokey PSAs that play on parental guilt. If you like your safety education with a side of shame, this is your starting place.
Smokey Does Dystopia
Riffing on the fraught relationships between generations, this number from 1983 is not afraid to go dark. Like, really dark.
Other honorable mentions in the "whoa" category of wildfire safety messages: 1973's "Emptiness" and 1987's (a low-budget year) "Paper Dolls".
Actually SAFE FOR KIDS
What if you're a responsible parent or educator who is already careful with fire and just wants to pass along the fire safety messages to your kids? Bambi, Thumper and other woodland creatures have been a part of Smokey's messages for decades, but the following animated 90's PSA is more kid-friendly than some of the Bambi-themed bunch.
This one is pretty good, too.
Follow Smokey Bear
Have a favorite Smokey Bear PSA that tops The Twilight Zone? Let us know.
And because Smokey Bear is not just some relic of the past, but a bear who changes with the times, you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram and Like him on Facebook. And remember, if it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave and only YOU can prevent wildfires.