Camano Island Fire Rescue Fire department workers Jay Jacks (left) and Jake Schorzman carry Smokey Bear to install by the fire danger warning sign on Highway 532. The metal bear is a hand-me-down from the state Department of Natural Resources. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)

Camano Island Fire Rescue Fire department workers Jay Jacks (left) and Jake Schorzman carry Smokey Bear to install by the fire danger warning sign on Highway 532. The metal bear is a hand-me-down from the state Department of Natural Resources. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)

He’s Camano’s Smokey Bear the Third … will he be the last?

Only YOU can prevent the theft of the famous fire prevention bear. Please keep your paws off.

CAMANO ISLAND — Smokey Bear is back in town.

Only you can protect him.

What’s up with that?

The 5-foot metal cutout is the third Smokey Bear to stand by the fire danger warning sign on Highway 532 near the entrance to Camano Island.

His predecessors both were cub-napped.

Smokey the First went missing decades ago. Smokey the Second had been in place for years until he suddenly vanished in October.

Smokey the Third is a spare bear hand-me-down from the state’s Department of Natural Resources, courtesy of the Sedro-Woolley office.

“This really should be Smokey the Last,” said Bronlea Mishler, Camano Island Fire & Rescue spokesperson.

His backside is a little faded, but he’s still a fine looking bare-chested guy in blue jeans, paunch and all.

Fire department workers Jay Jacks and Jake Schorzman took extreme measures and power tools to secure Smokey to the 12-foot pole.

“I rounded the heads off the bolts,” Jacks said. “You can’t just walk up with a wrench and take him. You’ve got to be more determined than that.”

Smokey Bear is so much more than a cartoon hunk.

“It is to draw attention to the fire danger on our island,” Mishler said.

“It’s a way to remind folks that we face fire risks, too. There aren’t a ton of fire hydrants and we have a lot of people who come to camp and are seasonal residents. We want to make sure they know, ‘Hey, things are very dry, please don’t burn or at least be very cognizant if you do.’ We don’t want people to become complacent.”

Smokey has been the darling of the Forest Service since 1944, but he came later to the party.

“Please, Mister, don’t be careless” was the pre-Smokey campaign featuring Bambi, Flower the skunk and Thumper the rabbit with the slogan.

The animal trio was successful as a fire prevention symbol, but Disney only loaned the characters to the cause for one year.

So, the Forest Service came up with a poster depicting a bear cub pouring a bucket of water on a campfire. Smokey Bear was a hit. Its name and image are protected by the Smokey Bear Act of 1952. An Act of Congress provided for the use of collected royalties and fees for continued wildfire prevention education, not commercial exploitation.

Smokey’s name has always intentionally been spelled differently from the adjective “smoky.” There is no “the” in the middle. It’s Smokey Bear. Like Smokey Point.

The catchphrase “Remember… Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires” was updated in 2001 to “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” in response to the outbreak of wildfires.

Please, Mister, keep your paws off the bear by the side of the road on Camano Island.

Andrea Brown:; 425-339-3443. Twitter: @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

More in Local News

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

Craig Hess (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)
Sultan’s new police chief has 22 years in law enforcement

Craig Hess was sworn in Sep. 14. The Long Island-born cop was a first-responder on 9/11. He also served as Gold Bar police chief.

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Woman killed in crash on Highway 99 in Lynnwood

Police closed off Highway 99 between 188th Street SW and 196th Street SW while they investigated.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Most Read