Wildland Firefighter Museum and Smokey Bear Gift shop — a must-see stop in Capitan

Interior of Wildland Firefighter Museum In the summer of 1999, a family of forest service firefighters with an interest in old firefighting tools put together a unique museum in the tiny town of Capitan, New Mexico. Capitan lies at the foot of the Capitan Mountains and rests on rolling wooded hills. It is surrounded by the juniper, pinon, and aspen-studded 1.1 million acre Lincoln National Forest. Capitan’s claim to fame is singular: Its forest is the birthplace and burial site […] Read more »

Capitan — home of Smokey Bear

Capitan. Photo by Phyllis Eileen Banks. Every school age child has heard of Smokey Bear, but they may not know that Capitan, New Mexico, is his birthplace. In the aftermath of a disastrous fire in the Capitan Mountains, a four pound black bear was found on May 19, 1950, clinging to the trunk of a burned tree. The rangers named him Smokey. Ultimately he was taken to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and in June, 1950, he became the […] Read more »