August 10, 2009

Smokey Bear takes message bilingual

U.S. officials announced Monday at the 65th birthday of Smokey Bear in Washington that the anti-forest fire icon is going bilingual with a new book.

The U.S. Forest Service said the fire prevention symbol will inform children in a book written in both English and Spanish on ways to prevent forest fires and wildfires, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Monday.

Smokey Bear is one of the most beloved symbols in American history, and his important message has been communicated to generations of Americans during the past 65 years, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said. This new book will help mentor a new generation in carrying on Smokey's message.

The Forest Service said it credits Smokey's message with helping to cut the number of acres lost to forest fires and wildfires each year from about 22 million in 1944 to the current annual average of 6.5 million acres.