Smokey Bear was unfair.
The Forest Service said Tuesday it has canceled a public service ad in which the iconic bear warned that sparks from off-road vehicles could start a wildfire.
Off-road groups had complained that the ad sent the wrong message that riders operating ATVs in a legal manner can start forest fires.
“The mutual goal of the Forest Service, National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council is to spread Smokey’s enduring message’s of preventing wildfires to all forest users,” the Forest Service said in a statement Tuesday.
Because the ATV ad was interpreted as unfairly targeting off-road riders, the Forest Service has requested that TV stations and other media outlets that had broadcast the ad discontinue it, the Forest Service said.
The BlueRibbon Coalition, an Idaho-based group that advocates for off-road vehicles, hailed the ad’s withdrawal.