On Saturday, Aug. 12, the US Forest Service, Friends of Fort Vancouver, and National Park Service will celebrate Smokey Bear’s 73rd birthday at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center. This free event will begin at 1 p.m. A short film about Mount St. Helens’ return to life after its 1980 eruption will be shown in the Visitor Center theater. Smokey Bear-themed items will also be for sale in the Friends of Fort Vancouver Bookstore. The Friends will provide cake and lemonade as part of the celebration. Smokey Bear himself will also be in attendance.
The real Smokey Bear was saved in a wildfire in New Mexico and was first called “Hotfoot Teddy,” because his paws were badly burned when he clung to a smoking, burned-out tree. Since then, Smokey has been promoting fire safety in our public lands for several decades and has become a national icon in doing so.
The event lasts until 3 p.m. The Visitor Center is located at 1501 E. Evergreen Blvd., not far from the entrance to the restored Fort. Ample free parking is available in the lot.