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For Release: Friday, August 2, 2019

DEC Celebrates Smokey Bear's 75th Anniversary With Events Statewide

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that DEC is participating in events across the state this month to celebrate Smokey Bear's 75th anniversary. DEC is teaming up with the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters, and the Ad Council to celebrate 75 years since the 1944 launch of the Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention campaign, the longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history.

75 years of Smokey bear logo

Smokey Bear has successfully educated generations of Americans about how we can all help prevent wildfires," Commissioner Seggos said. "We invite all New Yorkers to join us and celebrate this national icon at events across New York State this summer. Smokey's words are still an urgent and relevant reminder for all of us to follow - Only YOU can prevent wildfires.'"

Smokey Bear was "born" on August 9, 1944 (link leaves DEC website), when the Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed on using a fictional bear to serve as the symbol for their joint effort to promote forest fire prevention during World War II. Roughly nine out of 10 forest fires are caused by humans. Wildfires can be deadly and destructive, and the national annual cost of their consequences can range anywhere from $71.1 to $347.8 billion, according to recent study by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Last year's Camp Fire in northern California destroyed the city of Paradise and killed more than 80 people, making it the nation's deadliest wildfire in more than a century.

New York State has 18.5 million acres of public and private forest lands susceptible to seasonal wildfires, and DEC's Forest Rangers are the state's lead division tasked with forest fire mitigation and the control and prevention of wildfires. In 2018, DEC Forest Rangers extinguished 105 wildfires that burned a total of 845 acres. For more information about the Forest Rangers, go to DEC's website.


August 3, Noon to 2 p.m.: visits Balsam Lake Fire Tower, Town of Hardenburgh, Ulster County;

August 7, 6 p.m.: attends Wellsville Movie Night (link leaves DEC website) w/Partners for Prevention in Allegany County;

August 8, 1 p.m.: attends Empire Farm Days (link leaves DEC website), Seneca Falls, Seneca County;

August 9: DEC Smokey Bear Anniversary event at Otis Pike Preserve-West, Suffolk County - details to be announced soon;

August 9, 6:30 p.m.: attends Erie County Fair Firefighters Day (link leaves DEC website) Fireman's Parade;

August 10: visits DEC campgrounds in Hamilton County: Golden Beach, Lake Eaton, and Lake Durant;

August 14, 7:30 p.m.: attends the Adirondack Experience (link leaves DEC website) (formerly Adirondack Museum), Blue Mountain Lake, Hamilton County;

August 16, 6 p.m.: Smokey Bear will throw out the first pitch at the Tri-City ValleyCats (link leaves DEC website) game in Troy, Rensselaer County. This will also take place in conjunction with the annual Boy Scout Night;

August 16-18: attends The Woodsmen's Field Days (link leaves DEC website), Boonville, Oneida County;

August 18, 1 p.m.: attends the NYS Championship Parade (link leaves DEC website), Hagerman Fire Department, East Patchogue, Suffolk County; and

August 21st - September 2: attends The Great New York State Fair (link leaves DEC website), Syracuse, Onondaga County.

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