The first Smokey Bear poster from the US Forest Service.

TILLAMOOK FOREST - It’s Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday, and the Tillamook Forest Center is celebrating with a special birthday party on Friday, August 9 from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. to honor the beloved forest icon. 

Just don’t leave any candles burning unattended in Smokey’s cake, because, after all, only YOU can prevent wildfires.

Featuring cake, prizes, songs and games to celebrate the venerable U.S. Forest Service mascot, there’s even a rumored visit by Smokey himself, though we’re pretty sure it’s the costumed variety, not an actual bear.

Held at the Tillamook Forest Center, the event is one of many taking place this year across the nation to celebrate the ‘birth’ of Smokey - a fictional character in an ad campaign that took, in many aspects, a real life of his own. 

On August 1, Smokey Bear license plates will become available to Oregon motorists who are purchasing a vehicle or renewing their registration, with proceeds benefiting Keep Oregon Green, a Salem-based nonprofit whose focus is the prevention of wildfires.

Smokey Bear was the creation of a 1944 ad campaign by artist Albert Staehle under the direction of the U.S. Forest Service to help prevent wildfires in WW2 America, according to the Ad Council, a nonprofit organization that produces and promotes public service advertisements.