Smokey Turns 75

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Local first responders and officials joined with the staff of Lake Whitney State Park to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday at the park Saturday, August 10. Smokey’s history was shared along with information about the importance of wildfire prevention. Games, giveaways, food and educational opportunities were all part of the event. The U.S. Forest Service started the campaign in 1944 to educate the American public on the dangers of forest fires, and it is the longest-running public service advertising campaign in United States history. Smokey’s original catchphrase was “Smokey Says – Care Will Prevent 9 out of 10 Forest Fires.” In 1947, it became “Remember… Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires.” In 2001, it was again updated to its current version of “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” in response to a massive outbreak of wildfires in natural areas other than forests and to clarify that Smokey is promoting the prevention of unwanted and unplanned outdoor fires versus prescribed fires. Pictured are Whitney Fire Rescue representatives visiting with Smokey at the state park.