CLEAR LAKE, Iowa – He’s been helping prevent wildfires for decades, and now fire departments across the area are honoring Smokey the Bear on his 70th birthday.
This friendly and furry face has been teaching kids about the importance of fire prevention for decades. The first Smokey the Bear public service announcement aired back in 1944, and has been the face of preventing forest fires ever since.
This campaign has been the longest running public service announcement in U.S. history, and Asst. Capt. Mike Keefe with the Clear Lake Fire Department tells us this iconic bear will be around for a while.
“I think Smokey Bear will be with us for a long time,” he says. “I think he has been a very positive symbol for the fire service, the forest service and for us here in Clear Lake so, I think he’ll be around for a long time.”
The Clear Lake Fire Department has been using the campaign for years to educate kids, and adults about the importance of being safe in the wilderness. Keefe believes that Smoky the Bear is relateable for both adults, and kids. Using a symbol like this, “helps get the point across, and helps people understand how important it is to use fire prevention.”
Even at 70 years old, Smokey is still very popular today. He has more than 24,000 followers on twitter, and more than 300,000 friends on Facebook.