Smokey Bear visits Basalt for 70th birthday |

Smokey Bear visits Basalt for 70th birthday

Ronda Rickard
Ember Golden, 5, and Summer Carver, 9, both of Basalt get a famous bear hug Wednesday.
Ronda Rickard / Post Independent |

BASALT — As part of Smokey Bear’s 70th birthday tour, he stopped Wednesday at Whole Foods in Basalt to greet fans and spread his timeless message: “Only you can prevent wildfires.”

Smokey has taught and encouraged woodland fire safety since Aug. 9, 1944, when he was officially adopted as the U.S. Forest Service’s fire prevention symbol.

Smokey said in an interview with the Post Independent on Wednesday that he still feels young at the age of 70.

In his free time, he enjoys keeping up with his 24,700 followers in Twitter — follow him @Smokey_Bear. Smokey said he’s a great typist, but when his paws get tired, he’s also got a great publicist.

Smokey Bear is a mascot of the woods, said Haley High, a student at Glenwood Springs Elementary School who was among those dropping by to wish him happy birthday.

Few figures are as enduring. The Forest Service says Smokey’s message — originally “Only you can prevent forest fires,” but broadened to cover all wildfires, is the longest-running public service announcement in the country.

He can connect with today’s kids on his website,

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