Smokey Bear turns 75

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – Smokey Bear, the Forest Service mascot famous for his, “only you can prevent wildfires,” catchphrase turns 75-years-old Friday.

The character was first unveiled on August 9th, 1944 by the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council.

The beloved safety icon’s message about wildfire prevention has remained the same for generations.

But for the milestone birthday, some of Smokey’s celebrity friends are helping to spread his fire safety message.

Betty White, Stephen Colbert, and even the Today Show’s Al Roker are lending their voices to the effort.

Even after three-quarters of a century, Smokey is still finding new ways to keep the forests safe from fires.

Maureen Brooks with the U.S. Forest Service said, “One of Smokey’s biggest tips is his ABC’s, always be careful. But we also have on our website all kinds of tips for however you might be living working or recreating in the outdoors.”

To find Smokey Bear birthday celebration events in your area you can head to

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