Smokey Bear, fire prevention icon, turns 75 |

Smokey Bear, fire prevention icon, turns 75

Associated Press
Daily Free Press via AP
In this Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 file photo, a giant Smokey Bear statue greets children at the Fire Department Open House at Fire Station One in Kinston, N.C.
In this Friday, July 26, 2019 file photo, visitors watch as Will, one of the grizzly bears at the Oklahoma City Zoo comes out for a frozen treat during an early celebration of Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday in Oklahoma City.
Naples Daily News via AP
In this Saturday, Aug. 16, 2104 file photo, Jedidiah Barnes, 3, of Cape Coral hugs a Smokey Bear costumed actor at the Koreshan State Historic Site in Estero, Fla., during celebrations for the 70th birthday of the character.

CAPITAN, N.M. — Smokey Bear, the icon of the longest-running public service campaign in the U.S., is 75 years old.

Birthday parties are scheduled to take place this week in honor of the bear that promotes forest fire prevention.

The decision to use the Smokey Bear character happened on Aug. 9, 1944, when the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed a fictional bear would be the fire prevention campaign symbol.

A badly burned cub found after a 1950 fire in New Mexico’s Capitan Mountains was named Smokey Bear and was used in promotional campaigns.

The Gila National Forest in Silver, New Mexico, and Wingfield Park in the town of Ruidoso will hold birthday parties for the bear.

Parties also are scheduled in Reading, Pennsylvania, and Entiat, Washington.

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