Hot Foot Teddy: The True Story of Smokey Bear


Hot Foot Teddy: The True Story of Smokey Bear was my first book. I attended Smokey Bear’s 60th birthday celebration in Capitan, New Mexico. The two-day event drew over 4,000 people who ate birthday cake and sang “Happy Birthday” to Smokey Bear. I said, “Someone should write a book about this famous bear.” And so, I did.

This book chronicles the rescue of Smokey Bear from a forest fire in southern New Mexico and his rising fame as the national icon for fire prevention. Licensed by the U.S. Forest Service, this 40-page book is filled with historical photographs. It is popular with children of all ages. (MT Publishing, 2007)


Some little known facts about Smokey Bear

  • He celebrates two birthdays: August 1944, when he became a poster bear for fire prevention, and May 1950 when the live cub was rescued from a fire.
  • Smokey Bear received so much mail, he was assigned his own personal ZIP code.
  • In May 1952, President Truman signed the Smokey Bear Act.
  • Smokey Bear retired from the U.S. Forest Service after 25 years of service.
  • In 1976, he was secretly buried at the Smokey Bear Historical Park in Capitan, New Mexico, near the forest where he was rescued.


  • Selected by the New Mexico Library Association for the elementary schools Battle of the Books, 2008 and 2012.
  • Won 1st place, SouthWest Writers Annual Contest, children’s non-fiction, 2005.

You can purchase this book via Amazon or  MT Publishing


“… elementary and middle school students will be well-served in learning about Smokey and his fire-prevention message from this book. It will help readers of all ages realize how one New Mexico creature made a significant difference.”

:: Neal Anderson, Albuquerque Journal, July 15, 2007.


“… a historical tale of survival against all odds. The author brings the black bear back to life in this inspiring account of the events …”

:: Amber Hartley, New Mexico Magazine, December 2007.


“You have managed to enrich many New Mexicans’ memory with the obvious pride attached to this national treasure.”

:: Bill Richardson, former Governor of New Mexico


“… full of interesting facts and unusual Smokey Bear trivia, including insight into why so many people mistakenly say ‘Smokey the Bear’.”

:: Wendy Bickel, albuquerqueARTS, February 2008.