've been "prowlin' and a growlin'" for 70 years now and sometimes you forget to take stock of the world around you. It's easy to think that what's here now will be here tomorrow, but it doesn't just happen. It takes you. Only you.
I turn 69 years old today! Sixty-nine years of wildfire prevention messaging and awareness, waving at parades, standing guard at campsites, showing people how to douse a campfire and even giving out #SmokeyBearHugs.
Since I first appeared, many people have helped me reduce the number of acres burned by wildfires from about 22 million in 1944 to an average of 6.5 million today, but my work isn't done yet. I still need your help.