PRESS RELEASE: (Missouri Department of Conservation) — Join the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) in celebrating Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday, 3 – 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Truman State University Quad.

Photo: Missouri Department of Conservation

MDC will offer free opportunities for all ages to discover nature through archery, tree climbing, BB guns, a stream table, tree identification, crafts, photos with Smokey and custom Smokey Bear t-shirts. Partner agencies will offer various fun activities including opportunities to explore emergency vehicles. Birthday cake will be provided at 5 p.m.

Since 1944, Smokey Bear has appeared at public events and in ads spreading the word about wildfire prevention.  Rising out of fears during World War II that America’s valuable forests could be harmed by accident or arson, Smokey’s wildfire prevention messages have reached generations of Americans. In fact, his is the longest-running public service advertising campaign in US history, developed by the US Forest Service, National Association of State Foresters, and the Ad Council.

MDC often fights fire side-by-side with local fire departments across the state, providing heavy equipment and boots on the ground in fire suppression efforts.  But the best way to fight a fire is to keep it from starting in the first place. Since Smokey’s first day on the job, MDC has proudly partnered to promote his message of prevention: “Only you can prevent wildfires.”

Celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75 years of wildfire prevention efforts, and the conservation partnerships that help fight wildfires in Missouri at this free, family-friendly birthday party in Kirksville.  For more information, contact MDC Forester Yvette Amerman at (660) 785-2420, or [email protected].