Happening Today: Smokey Bear celebrates his 78th birthday

LINCOLN NATIONAL FOREST, N.M. — Smokey Bear turns 78 and you can join in on a celebration happening Tuesday.

From 3 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, a virtual birthday party will be held for Smokey on a live stream. The party will be hosted by PBS host Darley Newman and representatives from the U.S. Forest Service.

Smokey was born Aug. 9, 1944, as a campaign to prevent forest fires but the real Smokey came to be six years later.

In the spring of 1950, a young bear cub was found alive after being caught and badly burned while taking shelter up in a tree in a burning forest within New Mexico’s Capitan Mountains. The firefighters later named him Smokey.

Smokey lived at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., until his death in 1976. After his death, he was returned to the Capitans and was buried. He is also celebrating his 70th birthday this week.