Smokey Bear Celebrates His 70th Birthday

Billings Bureau of Land Management (BLM), along with the U.S. Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters, and the Ad Council announced today that they will be hosting an open house on August 9, 2014, at the Billings BLM wildland fire station to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 70th birthday and provide critical information to Americans about wildfire prevention.

Since his birthday on August 9, 1944, Smokey Bear has been a recognized symbol of conservation and protection of America’s forests. His message about wildfire prevention has helped to reduce the number of acres lost annually to wildfires, from about 22 million (1944) to an average of 6.7 million annually today. However, wildfire prevention remains one of the most critical issues affecting our country. Many Americans believe that lightening starts most wildfires. In fact, 9 out of 10 wildfires nationwide are started by humans. Wildfires sparked by humans are most commonly caused by campfires left unattended, trash burning on windy days, careless discarding of smoking materials, BBQ coals, and operating equipment without spark arrestors.

It’s always wildfire season somewhere in the U.S. and every region of the U.S. has wildfires.

In Honor of Smokey Bear’s 70th Birthday the public is invited to tour the BLM wildland fire station, learn about fire prevention and see fire trucks and firefighting aircraft. The open house will be held August 9th, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the BLM wildland fire station, 1299 Rimtop Drive, Billings, Montana. Smokey will help cut his birthday cake at 2:00 p.m.

“This will be a great opportunity to come and get an inside look at what a wildland fire station is really like and see all kinds of firefighting equipment. Plus, it gives everyone a chance to come by and wish Smokey a happy 70th birthday,” said Fire Mitigation Specialist Carmen Thomason.

Smokey Bear is the center of the longest-running public service advertising (PSA) campaign in U.S. history. Since 1944, the Ad Council, ad agency FCB West, and the U.S. Forest Service have been helping Smokey communicate his well-known message, “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.” To help reward and thank those that take steps to help prevent wildfires, Smokey is giving out bear hugs online, using #SmokeyBearHug. He’s also directing fans to his website,, and his Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter accounts for more information about wildfire prevention.

U.S. Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Service is the agency responsible for overseeing the use of Smokey Bear in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council. The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands for the American Public. Its mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

National Association of State Foresters
The National Association of State Foresters is comprised of the directors of forestry agencies from the fifty states, eight U.S. territories and associated states, and the District of Columbia. Through public-private partnership, NASF seeks to advance sustainable forestry, conservation, and protection of forest lands and their associated resources. As a partner with the U.S. Forest Service, State Foresters are committed to the continued delivery of Smokey Bear's message of personal responsibility in wildfire protection.

For the latest BLM news and updates visit us on the web at, on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter @BLM_MTDKs or @BLM_MTDK_Fire.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

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National Office


Brad Purdy