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NEW YORK -- Millions of parade enthusiasts watched the 95th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on Thursday and likely saw Smokey Bear with the long-running catchphrase "Only You Can Prevent Wildfires."
The phrase represented by the 51-foot tall helium balloon has been around in some form since the 1940s and is considered the longest-running public service campaign in U.S. history.
According to The Ad Council, the development of the campaign happened because of threats exploding ordinances posed to Pacific forests during World War II and has stuck around ever since.
While the slogan has seen minor tweaks over the decades, the mission of helping to cut down on human-caused wildfires remains the campaign’s chief priority.
A recent congressional report stated that the U.S. averages nearly 63,000 wildfires that annually burn around 7 million acres.
And Smokey Bear has his work cut out for him, an estimated 88 percent of wildfires that occur are human-caused.
Forest Service wildfire prevention tips can be found on smokeybear.com.