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Smokey Bear

Smokey the Bear, the national forest fire prevention mascot, and a group of Maryland Girl Scouts walk arm in arm in Washington, D.C., in 1954, after the Girl Scouts of America pledged their help in preventing man-caused forest fires. (CORBIS)

Smokey Bear

Yahoo News

Smokey Bear is turning 70 on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014 — but don't bring any candles to the party, please.

As the friendly, huggable bear with the brimmed hat and shovel enters his golden years, he's burning up Twitter. But his message of fire prevention through personal responsibility hasn't changed much.

Smokey Bear was created in 1944 because of fears that enemy shelling from Japan would cause forest fires while most U.S. firefighters were in battle overseas. When the war ended, Smokey stuck around _ and he is now at the center of the longest-running public service announcement campaign in U.S. history.

Research shows he is known by 96 percent of American adults and ranks near Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus for name recognition. (AP)

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