Smokey celebrates 65 years keeping the forest safe

By: KKCO Email
By: KKCO Email

Only you can prevent wildfires.

It’s a saying made famous by Smokey the Bear.

Sixty-five years later the message is still holding strong.

He's America's wildfire prevention icon, created by the U.S. Forest Service after a real life bear was caught in a 1950s New Mexico wildfire.

Firefighters spotted the young cub with burns to his paws.

Cathi Hansen with the Grand Mesa Visitor’s Center tells the story, “And we fixed him up and got him better and decided we needed someone to represent and we brought Smokey on board.”

Sixty-five years later Smokey the Bear continues to spread his message.

On the Grand Mesa Sunday kids lined up to have their pictures taken with the cuddly bear.

“We are up here celebrating his birthday because he has done a lot of work in public relations in keeping our forests safe from fire,” Hansen says.

In fact, Smokey the Bear holds a record for the longest running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history.

He's a symbol all generations can relate to.

As he celebrates another birthday and looks forward to another 65 years, Smokey wants to remind you.

“Only you can prevent wildfires.”

The Grand Mesa Visitor’s Center always hosts Smokey's birthday party.

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