HAMPTON FALLS — Smokey Bear visited the Hampton Falls Fire Department Tuesday as part of a tour throughout the Granite State in honor of his 75th birthday.
Smokey Bear began as a print campaign designed by the War Ad Council during World War II to raise awareness about wildfire prevention. 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.
The Hampton Falls Library was one of six libraries selected by the N.H. Forest Protection Bureau to host visits from Smokey in July.
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.
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 event is sponsored by 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.