Smokey Bear celebrates 75th birthday

Florida Forest Service
Press Release
August 12, 2019 3:00 p.m.

Today, the Florida Forest Service joins the nation in celebrating 75 years of Smokey Bear, the face of the longest-running public service advertising campaign in United States history, continuing his legacy of bringing awareness to unwanted, human-caused fires.

“Wildfire prevention remains one of the most critical issues in our state,” said Jim Karels, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. “Florida’s climate creates a unique challenge for our year-round wildfire season, making it imperative for us to educate Floridians and visitors alike on the importance of Smokey Bear’s message.”

Smokey Bear’s wildfire prevention campaign has had a dramatic impact since its introduction in 1944. Progress continues today with an approximate 14 percent reduction in the average number of human-caused wildfires from 2011-2018, compared to the previous 10 years.

While it’s clear his work has been successful, more than 75% of all wildfires in Florida are caused by human carelessness, which means Smokey’s message remains relevant. Since January, the Florida Forest Service has responded to 1,295 wildfires that have burned over 87,200 acres in our state.

The Florida Forest Service has hosted numerous parties and local events across the state to celebrate the wildfire prevention icon’s milestone birthday. To find a Smokey event near you, visit smokeybear75th.org. To learn more about Smokey Bear and wildfire prevention, visit smokeybear.com and follow Smokey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the hashtags #SmokeyBear75 and #OnlyYou.

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at FloridaForestService.com

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