America’s ubiquitous forest fire fighting bear turns 75 years old Friday. To celebrate, his official Twitter handle is asking people to post videos of themselves singing “happy birthday” to him. Smokey was born in 1944 when the US Forest Service and Ad Council teamed up to create a mascot to spread their message.
Forest fire prevention had become a big issue because many experienced fire-fighters were overseas fighting in World War II. That left fewer of them available to fight fires at home– making prevention more important.
Smokey’s original tag-line was “care will prevent nine out of ten fires.”
Then in 1947, he started saying what we all know today, “Only you can prevent forest fires.”
The Amarillo Fire Department will come together with several local agencies for Smokey’s birthday party at Thompson Park on Saturday, September 9 from noon to 5 p.m.
AFD officials also want to remind people about the upcoming Boots vs. Badges Softball Game. This year, the game is at Hodgetown. Gates open at 6:05 p.m., and the game starts at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are $5 general admission (under 2 years old free) with proceeds benefiting Coffee Memorial Blood Center and The 100 Club of the Texas Panhandle. Concessions and bar will be open so no outside food and drink allowed.