June 29, 1959

Smokey Bear, a four-month-old orphaned black bear cub rescued from a forest fire in Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico, arrives at the National Zoological Park. The National Park Service erects an exhibit next to Smokey’s enclosure, and the bear becomes a famous symbol of fire prevention. Smokey died in 1976 and was replaced by Smokey Bear II.

Posted: 29 June 2010
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Alex di Giovanni has been editing The Torch since August 2006. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Plexus Scientific, The Nature Conservancy, The National Foreign Language Center and St. Martin’s Press, among others. She has the best job in the world.