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Michigan to host 75th birthday party for Smokey Bear

Forest Service\'s mascot Smokey the Bear (Photo courtesy of MGN)

ST. IGNACE, Mich. (AP) — State and federal agencies are gearing up for a Michigan celebration of Smokey Bear's 75-year legacy of preventing forest fires.

Smokey will join staffers with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other partners Friday at Straits State Park in St. Ignace.

A family-friendly birthday party is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. It will feature a fire truck open house, displays of wildland fire equipment, fire-prevention games, refreshments and an opportunity to meet the iconic bear.

Smokey has shared fire-prevention messages with the signature phrase, "Only you can prevent wildfires."

Debbie Begalle of the Michigan DNR's Forest Resources Division says the slogan is still relevant. Nine out of 10 wildfires are started by people.

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