56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2024


Harlan Vincent









     WHEREAS, one spring day in 1950, a wildfire broke out in the Capitan mountains of New Mexico; and

     WHEREAS, as crews from New Mexico and Texas battled the blaze, they received a report of a lone bear cub seen wandering near the fire line; and

     WHEREAS, about thirty of the firefighters were trapped directly in the path of the fire storm but survived the fire; and

     WHEREAS, the little cub took refuge in a charred tree, escaping the fire but suffering badly burned paws and hind legs; and

     WHEREAS, the crew removed the cub from the tree, and the cub was flown to Santa Fe where a veterinarian treated and bandaged the cub's burns; and 

     WHEREAS, the cub found a home at the national zoo in Washington, D.C., and was recognized as the living symbol of Smokey Bear; and

     WHEREAS, upon Smokey Bear's death in 1976, he was returned to New Mexico and was buried at the Smokey Bear historical park in Capitan; and

     WHEREAS, Smokey Bear continues to be one of the most-loved ambassadors for fire prevention, with a legacy that remains relevant to this day; and

     WHEREAS, Smokey Bear was so popular that the United States postal service gave him his own postage stamp, and he is the only "person" to have his own zip code besides the president; and

     WHEREAS, Smokey Bear's signature phrase "only you can prevent wildfires" is part of the American lexicon; and

     WHEREAS, Smokey Bear's message resonates today with nearly nine out of ten wildfires nationwide caused by humans; and

     WHEREAS, Smokey Bear's unique and important role is focused on preventing unwanted, human-caused wildfires by educating the public and encouraging them to be responsible; and

     WHEREAS, the United States forest service is celebrating Smokey Bear's eightieth birthday in 2024;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that January 23, 2024 be designated "Smokey Bear Day" in the house of representatives in recognition of the ongoing urgency of reducing wildfires; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the secretary of energy, minerals and natural resources, the forestry division of the energy, minerals and natural resources department and the Capitan division and the chief of the United States forest service.

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