Happy Birthday, Smokey Bear!
August 6, 2024
An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 6 of August, repeating indefinitely
Happy Birthday, Smokey Bear! On August 9, 1944, Smokey Bear’s creation was authorized by the U.S. Forest Service as a public educator in preventing wildfires. Smokey Bear promotes awareness about the danger of wildfires and educates the public in preventing them.
The Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention ad campaign is the longest-running public service advertising campaign in American history (and at 79, Smokey’s still pretty spritely!)
Did you know? In the early 1940s, the Forest Service found that forest animals struck a chord with the American public – characters from Walt Disney’s Bambi were successfully used in an early fire prevention campaign. From this experience, the government was inspired to create a more permanent animal character – Smokey.
His original slogan was not the familiar, “Remember…only YOU can prevent forest fires,” but the less catchy “Care Will Prevent 9 out of 10 Forest Fires.”
Only You, Special Collections, USDA National Agricultural Library, 1989
-Written by Anna Zemaitaitis, Communications and Design Officer