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Smokey Bear sign returned to Oconto County ranger station

The fire danger sign has been returned to the Lakewood Ranger Station
The Smokey Bear sign was stolen from the Lakewood Ranger Station.
The Smokey Bear sign was stolen from the Lakewood Ranger Station.(Oconto County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 8:26 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2020 at 4:53 PM CDT
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OCONTO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Smokey is back!

The Oconto County sheriff says a stolen Smokey Bear fire danger sign has been returned to the Lakewood Ranger Station.

“Smokey the Bear has been returned to the Lakewood Ranger Station. Thank you all for your support and proactive efforts in helping to get him back home! We sure live in a great community,” writes Sheriff Todd Skarban on Facebook.

The plywood Smokey went missing during the overnight hours of July 10 to July 11 from the Lakewood station on Highway 32. It’s unclear who had the sign and why it was taken from the station.

The Smokey Bear sign warns residents and visitors about the risk of fire danger and preventing wildfires. The bear is the long-running image of the U.S. Forest Service.

The photo in the story is the sign at the Laona Ranger Station. The Sheriff’s Office used it as an example because it looks just like the Lakewood sign.

The story caught the eye of Jennifer Connor, “Mustard Girl of America.” She’s from Laona and offered a cash reward and a year’s supply of Mustard Girl All American Mustard for the return of the Smokey sign.

Connor says she learned about the sign’s return from Action 2 News and she contacted Sheriff Skarban, who told her the sign was “mysteriously returned... in the middle of the night.”

Since there’s no one to receive the reward, Connor asked the sheriff how she could use it for a good cause, so she’s giving the reward money to the Oconto Police Department K9 program and donating a year’s supply of mustards to be auctioned off at the Oconto County K9 Charity Golf Scramble in September.

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