Smokey the Bear turns 75

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FILE – 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. The icon of the longest-running public service campaign in the U.S., was born on Aug. 9, 1944, when the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed that a fictional bear would be the symbol for a fire prevention campaign. (Janet S. Carter/Daily Free Press via AP)

The face of the longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history is turning 75.

Smokey Bear came to life on Aug. 9, 1944, when the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention program and with the help of the War Advertising Council agreed that a bear would be the face of their wildfire prevention campaign.

The first poster with Smokey the bear as the symbol of wildfire prevention was delivered on Oct. 10, 1944 by artist Albert Staehle. The poster showed Smokey pouring a bucket of water on a campfire.

To celebrate Smokey’s 75th birthday there are birthday parties around the country. Locally, on Friday, Aug. 9 there will be a birthday party and celebration for Smokey at the Kern River Ranger District Office in Kernville. The event is organized by the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters.

The event starts at noon and goes until 2 p.m. For more information head over to smokeybear75th.org

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