NH celebrates Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday throughout the summer Smokey Bear is celebrating his 75th birthday this year and he will be making several appearances throughout New Hampshire as part of his mission to raise awareness about wildfire prevention. Smokey Bear began as a print campaign designed by the War Ad Council during World War II. As one of the most forested states in the country, New Hampshire – which has relied on its forests as an economic driver for more than 150 years – has a strong relationship with Smokey. Throughout the summer, the public is encouraged to take pictures of themselves with Smokey Bear artwork, including life-sized carvings and signs of Smokey at their local fire stations, and posting the images to social media with the hashtag “#NHLovesSmokey” as part of their post. Public libraries in Bethlehem, Dunbarton, Gorham, Hampton Falls, Mason and Plymouth were selected by the N.H. Forest Protection Bureau to host visits from Smokey in July. Each library is creating its own programming; activities include touch-a-truck opportunities with fire engines, story times, coloring contests, singing of the “Smokey the Bear” song, birthday cake and photo opportunities with Smokey. A N.H. Forest Ranger will also be at each event to discuss wildfire prevention. A display of Smokey Bear memorabilia, including posters, pins, bumper stickers, Smokey toys and other items, will be on display in the Genealogy Room at the N.H. State Library in Concord through Labor Day. On July 11, Smokey will make a special visit the N.H. Veterans Home in Tilton, where several residents have experience with firefighting and forest protection. Four N.H. Forest Rangers who are military veterans will be on hand to discuss their experiences fighting fires and to take pictures with the residents and Smokey. Smokey’s major birthday event will take place Aug. 15, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Franconia Notch State Park. Attendees will be able to enjoy free tethered rides on the Friends of Smokey Bear hot air balloon (weather permitting), ride the Cannon Mountain tramway with Smokey, play games, enjoy live fiddle music by the Fiddling Thomsons, and share some birthday cake with Smokey Bear. A food vendor will provide barbeque items at a nominal cost. The N.H. Division of Forests and Lands, the N.H. Division of Parks and Recreation, the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Commission and the N.H. State Council on the Arts sponsor the event. Anyone interested in learning more about wildfire prevention is encouraged to contact their local fire department or the N.H. Forest Protection Bureau. Information is also available from the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities website: firewise.org. Part of the N.H. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the Division of Forests and Lands protects and promotes the value provided by trees and forests. For more information about the Division of Forests and Lands and the work of its Forest Protection Bureau, visit nh.gov/nhdfl or call 603-271-2214.