Bambi is returning to help Smokey Bear remind people that "Only you can prevent wildfires." The Disney character is featured in a new series of public service announcements debuting this week in honor of Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 3 to 9.
Bambi starred in the fire prevention effort in 1944, before Smokey entered the campaign that year.
The effort, by the Ad Council in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and Walt Disney Co., is targeted at elementary schoolchildren and their parents, telling families to "Protect our forest friends." The Disney-produced campaign is available for TV, radio, outdoor and the web, including a series on online games and widgets featured on social media channels Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube as well as mobile.
According to the Ad Council, media outlets have donated more than $1 billion in time and space for the effort since it started in 1944. The campaign's message is credited with helping to reduce the number of acres lost annually by wildfires from about 22 million in 1944 to an average of 6.5 million today. Still, according to the council, 90% of wildfires in the U.S. are started by people rather than natural causes such as lightning.