This is the first novel written about the real bear cub who survived a forest fire high in the New Mexican mountains to become the living representative of his namesake, the icon Smokey Bear, famous for preserving wildlife and wilderness.As the story opens, the runt of a black bear litter witnesses a mountain lion’s attack on his littermates. Despite this trauma, the cub is rambunctious enough to venture out of his mother’s den and risk attack by an adult male bear.His early days learning how to make a good life for himself in the wilderness are abruptly ended when a horrendous forest fire rages over the mountain. The cub uses his wits to endure the fire but is left badly burned, alone and forlorn amidst the devastation.Without quite knowing why, a game warden, Ray Bell, feels compelled to break the rules and rescue the orphaned animal. It’s nip and tuck whether he will live, but a vet’s ministrations and the loving care of Ray’s tender-hearted family heal the little fellow’s wounds. In the warden’s Santa Fe household, the young bear clowns around with the cocker spaniel puppy Jet and cuddles with Ray’s wife and four-year-old daughter, but, mistaking Ray’s changing of bandages as cruelty, the cub repeatedly lies in wait to bite his benefactor.Ray, knowing the bear will soon become powerful enough to be dangerous, conspires with local officials to find the best possible place for him. The family reluctantly says goodbye and the little bear is flown across the country to Washington’s National Zoo. There he becomes the living symbol of the famous icon Smokey Bear.How does this intelligent wild bear manage life in captivity?Authentic photographs and apt quotations enhance this heartwarming and bittersweet story, written for adults but with appeal for all ages.During his long life in the zoo, Smokey was visited by millions of people and his personal sacrifice was credited with drastically reducing accidental wildfires.