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Smokey The Bear Turns 80

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80 years is a tremendous milestone—for anyone. To make it to 80 means you have overcome life’s greatest challenges and you truly become the elder, the sage, the one who knows a thing or two and should be listened to. Being the spokes-bear, if you will, of the longest running and most successful advertising campaign in American history, at 80 years old, I think Smokey Bear would agree.

And so does the USDA Forest Service.

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Smokey’s actual birthday is August 9. However, starting in January, the Forest Service which has, in cooperation with the Ad Council and the National Association of State Foresters, managed the image of Smokey Bear since the 1940s will launch a yearlong celebration. The kickoff will start with Smokey sharing his iconic phrase of Only You Can Prevent Wildfires in the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1.

In fact, across the country all sorts of activities are being planned from guest appearances at local events, a Facebook live stream from the California State Fair in July with Darley Newman, host of the PBS show Travels with Darley, and a social media campaign where the Forest Service is asking folks to sing Happy Birthday to Smokey with the hashtag #SingForSmokey.

Some of the #SingForSmokey videos will be streamed across numerous social media platforms on August 9 so get your vocal cords ready to belt for the bear! And the fun continues through the year with the Smokey Bear balloon appearing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the lighting of the US Capitol Christmas Tree!

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To keep up on national events surrounding Smokey’s 80th, follow the Forest Service social media sites as well as the Ad Council’s Smokey Bear website www.smokeybear.com and social media sites.

Despite the success of Smokey Bear’s campaign over the years, wildfire prevention remains one of the most critical issues affecting our country’s forests and grasslands. With over 80 percent of wildfires being started accidentally or by careless or bad behavior, Smokey's message is as relevant and urgent today as it was in 1944.


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I read a similar article and immediately starting humming the Smokey the Bear song:


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