Mann Gulch fire, 61 years ago

On August 5, 1949, a wildfire overran 16 smokejumpers and firefighters in Mann Gulch on the Helena National Forest in Montana. Only three survived. The tragedy dealt a major blow to the U.S. Forest Service, which had not experienced a fatality during a decade of smokejumping. A best selling book by Norman Maclean called  “Young Men and Fire” describes the worst disaster ever to happen to a smokejumper crew.

Mann Gulch fire victims

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Mann Gulch fire, 61 years ago”

  1. A classic moment in the history of US wildland fire history, and many thanks to Norman MacLean for bringing home the message of Mann Gulch to those of us that followed.
    So many lessons learned, and then forgotten in the following decades that brought us the major fatality fires of the 50s, 60s, 90s and even those like Esperanza in the 21st Century. Saying “we will never forget” sounds so shallow…!


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