Cinder, a bear cub badly burned in Washington's Carlton Complex wildfire, is making headlines around the world this morning.
Rescuers sent Cinder to Lake Tahoe yesterday aboard a private small plane, as reported in The Seattle Times, KOMO-TV news, and other outlets. She'll receive treatment there for burns on all four paws, her face, and her belly.
A USA Today story reveals that Cinder is one of 10 rescued bears currently being treated at the nonprofit Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, which typically rehabilitates eight bears per year.
Reading about Cinder kindles memories of Smokey Bear's origins. Yes, there was a real Smokey. The little fellow was badly charred in a New Mexico wildfire in 1950, rescued, and nurtured to health. He became the public face of the U.S. Forest Service's anti-fire campaign, depicted in ads with a hat and shovel, advising "Only you can prevent forest fires."
This spring while activating PEMCO's "Don't Get Burned!" wildfire campaign, my colleague Jessica was admonished by a Cle Elum firefighter when she mentioned Smokey the Bear.
"It's not Smokey the Bear," he said. "It's Smokey Bear. Do you call him Santa the Claus? Or Easter the Bunny?"
If you want to learn about Smokey Bear's origins, you can download the classic 1959 comic – "The True Story of Smokey Bear– at this Department of Natural Resources website.