KITTERY, Maine — Smokey Bear’s 68th birthday will be celebrated this week by the Maine Forest Rangers and the Maine Department of Conservation with the dedication of a new, life-sized Smokey Bear statue – the only one of its kind in New England. The dedication will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug, 9, at the Kittery Visitors Center at Mile 4, Interstate 95, northbound.
The national icon, Smokey, who reminds us all about preventing forest fires, will visit as a special guest. Other guests, including Agriculture Commissioner Walt Whitcomb, who is the commissioner designee of the new Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, as well as representatives from the Maine Department of Transportation and the Maine Tourism Association, also will attend the ceremony.
Smokey’s message is particularly important this time of year given the number of wildfires occurring inMaine and across the U.S. The current fire danger inMaine varies from moderate in southern coastal and northern areas to “very high” in central Maine and the western mountains. Information on several current fires can be found by visiting the Maine Forest Rangers Facebook page.
The statue was purchased with a hazardous mitigation grant from the USDA Forest Service. It was installed by the Maine Department of Transportation and has a fire danger sign next to it to inform visitors about the current wildfire danger conditions.
After a brief ceremony, Smokey will visit and give out small fire prevention gifts to children.
For more information about Smokey Bear, go to www.smokeybear.com.
For latest wildfire danger report, go to http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/