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CUB BEARING UP AFTER FOREST FIRE; Baby animal's burns horror.

THIS tiny bear cub is lucky to be alive after being badly burned as fire ravaged forests in the American state of Montana.

And his rescue comes 50 years after firefighters saved a bear from a New Mexico forest blaze and named it Smokey Bear.

Yesterday, the black bear cub, nicknamed Smokey II, was being cared for by vets.

His paws will remain bandaged until his burned paws have healed. He will then be returned to the wild.

Joe Jacquith, the Montana wildlife warden who rescued Smokey II, said he had set a trap for the young animal after a resident near Bitterroot National Forest told him of the bear's plight.

He said the cub was "skin and bones" and had only survived by eating meat from the carcass of a burned deer. Smokey II is now being fattened up on dog's meat.

Joe said: "He'll be a little tender-footed for a while, but he should be fine."

In 1950, the original Smokey Bear became America's national fire-prevention mascot after being saved from the Lincoln National Forest. He died in 1976.

Meanwhile, Montana was still reeling as officials said about 30 of the biggest fires to hit the western state have burned about 600,000 acres. A third of the land is in the Bitterroot Valley, where hundreds of people have been forced to flee their homes.

And 98 major fires were still burning in the states of Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, ruining 1.3million acres.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 22, 2000
Words:253
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