Growing old is fun. For over 70 years this bear has gotten to bear witness to a lot of good people in America stepping in and helping to prevent wildfires. I’ve gotten to meet so many of you at state fairs, in our state and national Forests, in parades, in schools, bumping into some of you in the woods and most of all through social media. It’s been a whirlwind ride.
Because of all of you, I wanted to do something different for my birthday. I turned 72 on August 9th and instead of you giving me presents I’m giving you some presents to help support wildfire prevention across the country. Only YOU.
There’s a brand new Smokey Bear website that highlights all the ways you can help prevent wildfire, including how to maintain your equipment, how to properly build and douse out a campfire cold, what to do when burning debris and lots of other tips. You can learn why some ecosystems need fire to survive and how my friends at the National Association of State Foresters and the U.S. Forest Service manage forests to keep them healthy and robust. And you can even take my wildfire prevention pledge to show your commitment. Right now, California is in the lead!
It’s an honor to be the longest running public service campaign in U.S. history so this year I decided to step it up and create a new series of videos and posters. At first glance they look like beautiful pieces of impressionist art but when you look closer, you’ll see that the images are made from the ash of a wildfire. Nearly nine out of 10 wildfires nationwide are caused by humans which means they could be prevented. Help spread my wildfire prevention message by sharing one of my brand new videos with your friends.
And this year I got to celebrate my birthday with some of you over Facebook Live right from the headquarters of the Forest Service in Washington, D.C. Take a look.
I have to say, I feel more energized than ever before and I’m excited to kick off 72 “Howlin’ and a prowlin’” along with all of you.
Thanks, friends. Remember, only YOU can prevent wildfires!