Smokey Bear sign goes missing in North Carolina, then found

LACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) — Only YOU can recover Smokey Bear.

That was the call issued by one North Carolina fire department with a $1,000 reward offer after a 6-foot tall sign of Smokey Bear went missing last week.

Broad River Fire & Rescue in Buncombe County says the sign and an accompanying fire danger meter were snatched sometime in the final days of December from North Carolina Highway 9.

But authorities said Monday via social media that a woman found the Smokey Bear sign leaning against a tree in a trail area of the Pisgah National Forest. The fire danger sign wasn’t recovered.

The department said it plans to modify the $1,200 sign installation to prevent future thefts.

The National Park Service says the Smokey Bear wildfire prevention campaign dates to the 1940s.

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