COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Smokey Bear is the latest state employee
furloughed because of budget problems.
South Carolina Forestry Commission spokesman Ken Cabe has
written agency employees telling them how to deal with requests to
have Smokey Bear appear at events.
"When you get Smokey requests, you should explain that staffing
and budget issues have forced us to narrow our focus, concentrating
on more essential services," Cabe wrote.
The agency hopes to have Smokey back on the job when the budget
situation improves, Cabe said.
The commission has several Smokey costumes that state employees
have used during appearances at school functions or festivals.
The U.S. Forest Service also has Smokey Bear costumes, said
spokeswoman Stephanie Neal Johnson.
The costume used in the Midlands is being refurbished now, but
the federal Smokey soon will be available for events.
Smokey Bear has been working since 1944 to remind Americans
about outdoor fire safety and wildfire prevention.
The Smokey campaign reduced the number of acres lost annually to
fires from 22 million to 4 million, according to the forest
The U.S. Forest Service requires the person in the bear costume
to be an employee of a federal or state forestry agency.
With the state agency's work force trimmed by budget cuts, the
state forestry commission no longer can afford to take employees
away from normal jobs to play Smokey.
Cabe has told state workers the costumes can not be loaned.
"Be polite, be understanding, but be firm: We do not loan the
Bear," he wrote.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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07-18-2003, 08:44 AM #1
"I'm sorry...Smokey Bear is not available at this timeProudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones
*Gathering Crust Since 1968*
On the web at www.section2wildfire.com
07-18-2003, 10:42 AM #2
Smokey also can't dance
This story brought up a painful memory. Along about 1998 or 1999, Smokey made an appearance in our town's Christmas parade as a 'guest' of a neighboring department that was also participating in the day's festivities. Smokey chose to walk with the clowns and other characters rather ride with the fire equipment. Somewhere along the parade route, Smokey also apparently decided to do a little bump-n-grind dance routine with an attractive young lady.
I say apparently because I didn't see it; however, a USFS management type in the crowd did see it and was not amused. The parade was on a Saturday afternoon. By noon Monday, I had heard from the US Forest Service, the State Forestry Commission, the county forester, and the president of the county fire association. All were quite upset and wanted to know where we got Smokey.
Who would have thought that Smokey has a written code of conduct? After all, he is a firefighter - what was he supposed to do when presented with such an opportunity.
It was all pretty amusing for the first week but they kept calling. When I finally did some investigating, I found out that Smokey had been 'liberated' from an area career department by a FF that was also a volunteer with the department that brought him to our parade. I was really stuck now because I didn't want to get him in trouble at his career department over something that still seems trivial today. In the end, the county forester soothed everyone's nerves it all worked out OK but it took nearly a month to resolve what we now call Smokeygate.
The moral of this long and probably boring story is that you never know who is watching.
There is also a second moral. That &*(@%# bear is a party animal. If you invite him to your department, don't let him out on the town without a chaperone.
07-18-2003, 03:18 PM #3
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
07-19-2003, 10:34 PM #4
Yogi and Boo Boo weren't there as well were they? You know all those party bears stick together...lolTom Wardell, Chief
Lone Pine VFD
Anderson Co., TX
"What if volunteer firefighters didn't volunteer?"
07-19-2003, 10:46 PM #5
Dunno about Yogi and Boo Boo but hurts to hear Smokey was "Laid Off"
07-21-2003, 06:15 PM #6
Smokey needs help preventing his own fire.
Only you can help grind with Smokey!
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