Happy birthday, Smokey Bear!

by | Aug 8, 2012

Smokey Bear celebrates his 67th birthday with Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler in 2011. Smokey Bear turns 68 Thursday, Aug. 9

Even though he’s another year older, Smokey Bear doesn’t show any signs of slowing down his fire-prevention campaign. Smokey Bear, who turns 68 on Thursday, is the longest running, public service advertising campaign in U.S. history and has become an American icon.

“Only you can prevent wildfires,” said N.C. State Forester Wib Owen. “The message of fire prevention is as relevant today as it was when Smokey Bear made his first appearance in 1944.”

North Carolina has about 18.7 million acres of ecologically diverse and productive forestland and a thriving forest industry, making the state’s forests a valuable and renewable resource that deserves protecting.

In North Carolina more than 40 percent of all wildfires are caused by careless debris burning. Last year, a total of 5,265 fires burned 63,547 acres of land across the state. As fall fire season approaches, the likelihood of wildfires occurring increases. Fortunately, the N.C. Forest Service offers tips you can use to prevent wildfires.

In honor of Smokey Bear’s birthday, the department would like to thank all the dedicated men and women who fight wildfires across the state and nation. Thank you for your efforts to protect our natural resources.