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Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday to be Celebrated in Parades and Parties all over the U.S.

Posted by Robert Hudson Westover, Office of Communication, USDA Forest Service in Forestry
Feb 04, 2019
Smokey Bear 75th Birthday poster
Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday is August 9th, 2019. The iconic fire prevention bear is famous around the world for saying: Only You Can Prevent Wildfires. (Ad Council artwork)

There are icons and then there is Smokey Bear. Iconic mascots and images come and go but Smokey and his one clear message “Only you can prevent wildfires” has stood the test of time—75 years to be exact.

Smokey, who has never given an interview, has appeared alongside Presidents and movie stars, including John F. Kennedy and Betty White. But most importantly Smokey has appeared with thousands and thousands of children throughout his illustrious career leaving them with a powerful understanding of what they can do to prevent wildfires.

“It’s truly amazing how Smokey’s message has reached out to generation after generation,” said Gwen Beavans, one of Smokey’s USDA Forest Service spokespersons. Beavans explained that the image of Smokey Bear began in 1944 with the wartime advertising council and the need to prevent wildfires which were a threat that used up resources especially during World War II.

Today Smokey couldn’t be more thrilled that his timeless message of fire prevention is getting exposed to a new generation of kids. Smokey really wants these young folks to know that the vast majority of destructive wildfires are started by careless behavior like not properly putting out a campfire or adults tossing cigarettes out of a car window.

So how do you celebrate the birthday of the world’s most famous Bear? With lots of celebrations.

In fact, Smokey’s birthday year has been kicked-off with a nationwide recognition in this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade where Smokey appeared with USDA Forest Service employees and other partners as they walked the parade route in sunny Pasadena, CA not far from the Angeles National Forest.

Many other events are still in the confidential phases of development but the Forest Service will post them via blogs and social media when they are officially rolled out to the public so keep checking in!

Category/Topic: Forestry

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deb allen
Feb 02, 2019

Great news about Smokey! At my library in Round Lake, IL we are having a Smokey Bear Birthday Bash on August 29. We have a permanent Smokey Bear display in our youth (kids) dept. and honor him during each Fire Prevention Month in October. ONly you... ; )

David Chen
Feb 03, 2019

I love this!

Dianna Jennings
Feb 04, 2019

I'm a few weeks shy of my 74th birthday and still working full time for USDA RD. My childhood was a magical time of annual summer trips to the National Parks, predominately Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite. Eventually I lived right outside of Yosemite and worked at a restaurant in the park during my high school and college years.
Smokey Bear was my first non-family love! Even at 73 I find him a compelling "friend". My husband and I have a Forest Service cabin atop Mingus Mountain. My kitchen has Smokey Bear magnets, note pads, etc. around the room. Anyway...Happy Birthday're older than I am which is another reason to love you.

Mark W. Kelly
Feb 04, 2019

Years ago, one of the individuals responsible for saving the little guy came to our grade school in Grants, NM to tell us the story. Back then, the motto was a bit different: "Only you can prevent forest fires" - not "wildfires." You can find a few photographs online of the little guy with bandaged feet, etc.

Reah Easley
Feb 04, 2019

I have been a Smokey fan all my life! I am 9 months younger than Smokey and am eager to see him in as many locations in my Texas home (or Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, or New Mexico) as I can find! I think I have already missed some so PLEASE help me find them. Thank you for helping my hero Smokey reminding us that "ONLY YOU..."

Amanda Adams
Feb 07, 2019

I got to "be" Smokey the Bear at a fire prevention day. It was amazing to see the kids react to me in the costume and made up for the amazing heat I felt wearing it on a warm October day. My favorite Smokey memory was my Smokey the Bear little Golden Book illustrated by Richard Scarry. I spent hours looking at it as a small child. Smokey is the perfect ambassador to teach children about being stewards of nature. Now I can just walk upstairs in my building and see photos of the little bear in the Forrest Service section of the building. I feel blessed to have so many Smokey memories and to celebrate his birthday.

Jack Pickens in Flat Rock, NC
Feb 18, 2019

Smokey bear lived in my family's house in Tesuque NM in 1951, prI or to being taken to the National zoo in Washington DC by my father Homer Pickens. I plan to be Washington DC for the celebration.

Kevin Monroe
Apr 06, 2019

lets have Smokey Bear at Rutgers Day New Brunswick NJ April 27th 2019

Kevin Monroe
Apr 06, 2019


Bill lindsay
Jul 14, 2019

Jack give Smokey Bear a Hug from Uncle Bill

Your Dad would be proud of You and Smokey

alexia walka
Nov 28, 2019


Is it possible to purchase 75th anniversary Smokey posters?

Alexia Walka

Dec 03, 2019

I found a site selling Smokey the Bear merchandise:

Is this an official?

I like the 75 year birthday in this article. Are there any items with this image for sale?

Thank you

Ben Weaver
Jan 08, 2020

@durandconnie - thank you for your comment. The Smokey Bear Birthday posters are no longer available at the Symbols cache and are sold out. For now, we have the Smokey 75th Toolkit still available on If you scroll to the bottom of the window pane, you will see some buttons on the bottom right. The 75th birthday posters are available in there. Note – since the birthday year is over this toolkit as is, will likely be taken down by the end of the month.

The website ktshirts – is not an official licensee. There is a listing of the official licensees available to the public: