A Public Service of Santa Fe Community College
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Smokey Bear Days Return in Capitan, NM

Smokey the Bear
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Smokey the Bear

This year marks the 80th birthday of New Mexico’s most famous fire prevention icon – Smokey Bear. It also marks the return of Smokey Bear Days, with two days of family friendly events taking place in downtown Capitan, New Mexico May 3-4.

Events will include a two-day folk music festival, a firefighter challenge competition, chainsaw carving demonstrations, conservation education and vendor booths, a home-town parade on Saturday morning, and more family-friendly activities.

Visitors can also view the Rudy Wendelin Smokey Bear art exhibit, on display at the Smokey Bear Historical Park.

Admission to the outdoor events is free and the Smokey Bear Historical Park admission is affordable with free admission for children 6 & under.

Capitan, New Mexico is the home of the living symbol of wildfire prevention, Smokey Bear.

In May of 1950, a young bear cub was recovered from the Capitan Gap fire on the Lincoln National Forest just north of Capitan.

He had been separated from his mother during the fire and was badly burned. There was little chance that he would survive the ordeal until firefighters rescued him and brought him back to fire camp.

There he came under the custody of New Mexico Game and Fish warden, Ray Bell and several other key figures who connected the story of the little orphaned bear cub to the national wildfire prevention campaign.

Smokey Bear became the living symbol of wildfire prevention.

He spent the next 25 years at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. When he passed away in 1976, he was brought back to Capitan to be buried in the park that bears his name.

Shantar Baxter Clinton is the hourly News Reporter for KSFR. He’s earned an Associates of the Arts from Bard College at Simons Rock and a Bachelors in journalism with a minor in anthropology from the University of Maine.