Smokey Bear usually sits attached to a fire danger sign off U.S. Route 50 in California as a subtle reminder that “only you can prevent forest fires.”
There’s one problem — Smokey Bear has vanished.
Now, the U.S. Forest Service – Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is making an urgent plea to the public.
“Help us bring Smokey Bear home,” the agency said in a Thursday, Jan. 25, Facebook post.
Officers noticed Smokey Bear was missing from the Spooner Summit sign earlier in the week, the agency said.
“I know some people in Tahoe are over the bears raiding their cabins, but this is unacceptable,” the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Other users on X were quick to express their shock at the disappearance of such an icon.
“Whaaaat – that is NOT ok,” one user commented.
“Oh my gosh. Who does that?” another user said.
Not only was Smokey Bear missing, the agency said the sign had also been vandalized.
“These fire danger signs are strategically placed along highways around Lake Tahoe to alert the public to the current fire danger rating,” the agency said.
Anyone with information about Smokey Bear’s whereabouts is asked to contact the agency at 530-543-2600 or email [email protected].
Smokey Bear, an American black bear, became a “symbol for forest fire prevention” nearly 80 years ago, according to The Ad Council.
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