His legend began in the 40's based on an actual baby black bear that was found alone, charred, and scared after a devastating wildfire burned through New Mexico. Today, Smokey Bear turns sixty years old.
His campaign for fire prevention is the longest running public service campaign in U.S. history. Birthday gatherings are being held all over the United States to honor Smokey and to rekindle the fire prevention message.
A local celebration was held last week at the Texas Forestry Museum in Lufkin. The museum is home to one of the largest collections of Smokey Bear memorabilia in existence.