The Smokey Bear plywood cutout missing from the Forest Service's Coldwater Canyon trail head reappeared Christmas Eve atop the water pipeline suspended across the mouth of Ogden Canyon.

Smokey had been missing since the Labor Day weekend. Forest Service officials believed the life-size cutout had been kidnapped by pranksters and was gone for good, said Rick Vallejos of the Ogden Ranger District."We figured he was at the bottom of Pineview Reservoir," said Vallejos. "He's had a tough life. Two years ago his head was broken off, and now somebody kidnaps him and puts him way up there."

Any possible humor in the prank was lost on police.

"It wouldn't have been too funny to the families of the pranksters if someone had fallen off the pipeline just before Christmas," said Ogden police Lt. Jon Greiner.

The Smokey Bear sign had been at the Ogden Canyon end of the Indian Trail, which crosses the Wasatch Front. The Forest Service had offered a $500 reward for Smokey's return.

Although the rangers now know where he is, he won't be home immediately.

Police say the plywood bear poses no hazard to traffic traveling up and down Ogden Canyon. So, because of the Christmas holiday, officers decided to leave Smokey on the pipeline until Monday.

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