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In The News – Smokey Bear turns 80 in 2024

January 4, 2024 | Member Submitted

Originally Published in The Sierra Sun on 12/28/23, Written by Robert Hudson Westover

80 years is a tremendous milestone—for anyone. To make it to 80 means you have overcome life’s greatest challenges and you truly become the elder, the sage, the one who knows a thing or two and should be listened to. Being the spokes-bear, if you will, of the longest running and most successful advertising campaign in American history, at 80 years old, I think Smokey Bear would agree.

And so does the USDA Forest Service.

Illustrated logo of Smokey Bear behind 80th BIRTHDAY text.
Smokey Bear’s official 80th birthday is August 9, 2024, but the Forest Service will be celebrating all year! 
(USDA Forest Service and Ad Council art)

Smokey’s actual birthday is August 9. However, starting in January, the Forest Service which has, in cooperation with the Ad Council and the National Association of State Foresters, managed the image of Smokey Bear since the 1940s will launch a yearlong celebration. The kickoff will start with Smokey sharing his iconic phrase of Only You Can Prevent Wildfires in the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1.


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