Smokey Bear turns 70 on Aug. 9, 2014. As the friendly, huggable bear with the brimmed hat and shovel enters his golden years, he’s burning up Twitter. But his message of fire prevention through personal responsibility hasn’t changed much. Here are photos of Smokey Bear through the years.
Smokey Bear was created in 1944 because of fears that America’s enemies would set forest fires while most U.S. firefighters were in battle overseas. When the war ended, Smokey stuck around — and he’s now at the center of the longest-running public service announcement campaign in U.S. history. Research shows he is known by 96 percent of American adults and ranks near Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus for name recognition. His creation was a collaboration of the U.S. Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council.