Happy Birthday, Smokey Bear! The longest running campaign in US history, Smokey Bear turns 68 today

SmokeybdayHappy Birthday, Smokey Bear!

Since his ‘birth’ on August 9, 1944, Smokey Bear’s message about wildfire prevention has helped to reduce the number of acres burned annually by wildfires from about 22 million (1944) to an average of 7 million today.

The original Smokey was a cub found in a New Mexico forest fire, clinging to a tree, and fighting for his life. That forest fire was caused by a human throwing a match on the ground. Firefighters were able to save Smokey, and, ever since then, he has been “spokesbear” for wildfire prevention.

Does Smokey have a middle name?
No! Smokey Bear does not have a middle name. The ‘the’ was added to keep in time with the rhythm of the song.

For many years, DNR has reached out to the public to help us prevent wildfires before they start. Here’s a chance to make wildfire prevention fun for your children. Have them play games with Smokey Bear. These games are an educational tool about wildfire prevention and very cool!

Be imaginative with Smokey Bear and make it fun for your family to learn about campfire safety. And remind your family that you’re not going anywhere until the campfire is completely out and cool to the touch.

DNR’s Janet Pearce and Diana Lofflin threw a 68th birthday party for Smokey Bear last Sunday on air at Radio Disney. Photo by: DNR/Jessica Payne

Smokey Bear’s wildfire prevention messages are as important as ever, because wildfires are starting to pop up around Washington.

You may have noticed that the grasses along the freeways and many other locations have dried out quickly. This means a fire can start at the drop of a spark from exhaust, a cigarette, or an ember from a campfire.

According to Smokey, 9 out of 10 wildfires are human-caused. That’s why it’s so important to be careful with campfires or any kind of fire when playing or working outdoors.

Whatever you choose as a teachable moment for wildfire prevention, know that a statewide burn ban is in effect through September 30 on all DNR-protected land.

Check the burn restrictions for where you’re headed to see if campfires are allowed. Remember, if there’s ever any doubt whether you may have a campfire or not, always contact your area’s DNR Region Office, fire district, or fire department to clarify specific regulations in that area.

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