Everybody's favorite fire prevention mascot turns 67 this year and he'll celebrate in style at Idaho Botanical Garden with an all-ages party.
But instead of lighting birthday candles, Smokey Bear and Co. will educate attendees on wildfire prevention. According to the Forest Service, nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans. While most people believe lightning is the cause of forest fires, the main offenders are unattended campfires, trash burning on windy days, arson, cigarette butts, barbecue coals and sparking machinery.
For nearly seven decades, Smokey has encouraged the public to be more conscious of outdoor burning. Dressed in a Ranger hat and dungarees, Smokey first became the spokes-mammal for wildfire prevention in 1944, and it's estimated that he has reduced the number of acres burned annually from 22 million in 1944 to 7 million today. His catchphrase, "Only you can prevent wildfires," is recognizable by three out of four adults, according to the Ad Council.
Kids will have their choice of creating arts and crafts or learning about campfire safety. A tour will guide children through the garden at 11:30 a.m. to discuss being firewise. This is one party that you'll walk away from all the wiser.[ Video is no longer available. ]