I’ve become interested recently in the true story of Smokey Bear. Terrible forest fires have ravaged the West Coast this summer. Smokey’s message has evolved over the years to encompass better stewardship of our forests and respect for nature. Smokey’s story is an amazing story of struggle and cooperation. This particular image depicts the moment that Smokey Bear came across Taos Pueblo firefighters fighting the Capitan Gap Fire in New Mexico in 1950. After the cub was rescued, his burns were treated and, when he was fully recovered, he was brought to the National Zoo in DC. An account I read said it was getting dark when Smokey was discovered. This gave me a fun challenge as I developed the palette for the picture.