Smokey Fire in northern Siskiyou County fully contained as Smokey Bear celebrates birthday

·1 min read
Smokey Bear survived the McKinney Fire where his fire-prevention sign stood outside the Oak Knoll Work Center along Highway 96 on July 31, 2022. On Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, firefighters fully contained the nearby 34-acre Smokey Fire in far northern Siskiyou County just in time for Smokey's 78th birthday.
Smokey Bear survived the McKinney Fire where his fire-prevention sign stood outside the Oak Knoll Work Center along Highway 96 on July 31, 2022. On Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, firefighters fully contained the nearby 34-acre Smokey Fire in far northern Siskiyou County just in time for Smokey's 78th birthday.

"Happy Birthday Smokey," U.S. Forest Service firefighters wished the famous fire-prevention bear Tuesday.

The Smokey Fire — a wildland fire bearing the bruin's namesake and that started last Thursday in far northern Siskiyou County — was fully contained Tuesday, just as Smokey Bear celebrates his 78th birthday.

"We're glad to have the #SmokeyFire 100% contained just in time for Smokey Bear's Birthday!" the Klamath National Forest announced Tuesday. "Thanks to the firefighters for all their hard work."

The 34-acre fire started just north of the McKinney Fire about two miles south of the Oregon border. It was off Beaver Creek and Forest Road 48N01, west of Hilt and north of Yreka.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention campaign was created in 1944 and is the longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history, according to the Forest Service.

"Smokey’s original catchphrase was "Smokey Says — Care Will Prevent 9 out of 10 Forest Fires." In 1947, it became "Remember... Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires," according to the Ad Council.

Smokey's slogan was updated in 2001 to say "Only You Can Prevent Wildfires" as a fire-prevention message to reflect large wildfires in areas other than forests.

Mike Chapman is an award-winning reporter and photographer for the Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif. His newspaper career spans Yreka and Eureka in Northern California and Bellingham, Wash. Support local journalism by subscribing today.

This article originally appeared on Redding Record Searchlight: Smokey Fire contained as Smokey Bear celebrates birthday