‘Smokey Bear’ celebrates 78th birthday as NC wildfire situation remains mostly under control

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(Photo: National Agricultural Library / MGN)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Today marks 78 years since Smokey Bear was created by the US Forest Service on August 9, 1944.

According to the organization, the fictional bear was created to be the symbol for their effort to promote forest fire prevention.

The group says 9 of every 10 wild fires is caused by human activity.

Artist Albert Staehle was asked to paint the first poster of Smokey Bear. It depicted a bear pouring a bucket of water on a campfire.

In 1947, the famous slogan “Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires!” was created.

So far in 2022, the NC Forest Service reports that there have been over 4,700 fires across the state with a total of 16,540+ acres burning. However, there are currently no major wild fires across North Carolina.