Smokey Bear gets a major makeover thanks to SC entrepreneur, artist

Clad in his signature park ranger hat, belt buckle, and jeans, Smokey Bear is best known for his timeless message: “Only you can prevent wildfires.”

Created by the U.S. Forest Service, National Association of State Foresters, and Ad Council, the character is considered the longest-running public service campaign in American history, and one of the most successful.

But Greenville, SC’s Matt Moreau and Cory Godbey are giving the beloved bear a makeover. Moreau is the owner of Dapper Ink Custom Outfitters, which produces screen-printed apparel and signage. Godbey is a freelance illustrator whose work has appeared in picture books, covers, comics, animated shorts, and films. The duo has created a special collection of illustrations and goods to promote Smokey’s message. The collection is the first of its kind in at least 50 years, according to Moreau.

“Smokey has taught countless children and adults about fire safety since the 1940s, and his message is as relevant today as it was then,” said Moreau. “We’re just breathing some new life into him with this collection.”

The avid outdoorsmen got the idea for a Smokey Bear collection last fall when dozens of wildfires spread across the southern Appalachian Mountains, charring thousands of acres and spreading smoke across several states.

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