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When Bears Fly

Posted by Robert Hudson Westover, Office of Communications, USDA Forest Service in Forestry
Nov 25, 2020
 Smokey Bear Thanksgiving Parade
This bear can fly. The new Smokey Bear balloon debuted in last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (USDA Forest Service photo.)

Smokey Bear will make an appearance again in the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. The star of the longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history will remind those tuning-in about his important message: Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.

Smokey’s message is no less important today than it was in 1944 when his wildfire prevention campaign began in earnest. In fact, Smokey received so much mail that at one point, the U.S. Postal Service gave him a personal zip code. Smokey still receives mail each year, often simply addressed to Smokey Bear 20252.

Additionally, his website,, has information about his history, and educational materials for teachers and kids.

Smokey’s first appearance as a balloon was in 1966, when he promoted a Smokey cartoon special airing Thanksgiving night. The updated 16-foot long, 25-foot wide and 51-foot tall Smokey Bear balloon debuted in the 2019 parade for his 75th birthday and will appear again.

Smokey Bear, the nation’s symbol of wildfire prevention was launched in August 1944, by the USDA Forest Service, the Ad Council and National Association of State Foresters.

Category/Topic: Forestry
Tags: Smokey Bear