Freeland corrects public and press about famous fire fighting figurehead Smokey

Photos and Story by Catherine Stachowiak

Local Mr. Dave Freeland announced to a crowd at a recent student awards event, May 9 at Paradise Cove Lodge, that Smokey Bear’s name is not Smokey The Bear.

Freeland told the Kern Valley Sun that he and his firefighter friends had an old pet peeve about the fact that the figure-head to children for fire prevention, Smokey Bear’s name has been widely falsely referred to over the years by the public, and more recently by the Kern Valley Sun in articles, when his name was written “Smokey the Bear.”  He said Smokey Bear does not have a middle name, “The.” 

Freeland explained that many years ago, youth used to sing a song about Smokey, which is where the public got the misinterpretation of his name “Smokey the Bear.”    

Smokey Bear, who recently celebrated his 80-year birthday, has never had the middle name “The.” His name was, is, and would always be – straight up, “Smokey Bear.”

Smokey, an acrylic by Payton Mental entered in the Kern Fire Safe Council’s art contest
Protect Our Home, a watercolor by Beth Orehosky entered in the Kern Fire Safe Council’s art contest