A child-friendly mountain lion character named Captain Cal is the new face of Cal Fire’s safety messages, replacing Smokey Bear. (Contributed by Cal Fire)
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SACRAMENTO — Smokey Bear and the words “Only you can prevent forest fires” had a huge impact on the youth of that time, and Cal Fire hopes for a repeat with its new mascot, Captain Cal, which was unveiled this week.

Captain Cal is a child-friendly mountain lion dressed in firefighting clothing.

Messages from Captain Cal will revolve around safety with fire and water, along with information about fireworks.

Having a character that children can identify can help with the goal of teaching safety practices at an early age.

Cal Fire Director Thom Porter said the figure represents “our heroic firefighters who daily put their lives on the line for our safety,” thereby linking children with firefighters. A press conference unveiling the new character was held Tuesday in Sacramento.

While Smokey Bear was a focal point for forestry safety, the new figure represents more issues such as safety in the water and when fireworks are present.

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