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LOS ANGELES - Smokey Bear turned 70 on Saturday!

As the friendly, huggable bear with the brimmed hat and shovel enters his golden years, he's burning up Twitter. But his message of fire prevention through personal responsibility hasn't changed that much.

Smokey was created in 1944, when TV was in its infancy.

Now, he has more than 300,000 friends on Facebook and 24,000 Twitter followers.

Smokey's classic slogan - "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires" - changed to "Only You Can Prevent Wildfires" in 2001.

That's because wildfires in urban areas were becoming a bigger threat than remote forest fires.

Smokey will celebrate a day early on Friday with a party at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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