Over the weekend there were several commemorative events held in northern Idaho and western Montana for the Big Burn fires of 1910, the fires which changed the course of wildland fire management in the United States. The U. S. Forest Service Honor Guard was at all of the events. In some cases they had to split up to cover them all.
At least two monuments were dedicated. The one in the photo above in Wallace, Idaho was unveiled on August 21, 2010 exactly 100 years after the town of Wallace burned. Donors from the local community and from around the country raised over $40,000 for the monument honoring the firefighters who gave their lives a century ago. It is on the west side of town at the Visitor Center at 10 River Street.
The other monument (below) was dedicated on Friday in Wallace, ID exactly 100 years after Ranger Ed Pulaski directed his 45-man fire crew to take refuge in the Nicholson Mine after they became entrapped by one of the fires. Unfortunately, five men died in the mine, while 40 survived. It is in the Nine Mile Cemetery in Wallace and serves as a headstone for the firefighters buried there.
U. S. Forest Service employees on the Coeur D’Alene River Ranger District on the Idaho Panhandle National Forest found the old blue prints that Pulaski designed for the monument, but was unable to get built. The text on the plaque below the monument reads:
The granite headstone before you is the original design that Ranger Ed Pulaski created in 1921 after the U.S. Congress obligated money to erect memorials for the firefighters that perished in the Great Fire of 1910. Ranger Pulaski’s supervisors thought that his design was too small and it never became a reality. In August of 2010, with contributions donated by Coeur D’Alene River Ranger District employees, the headstone he envisioned was set in place here at the site of the men who died under the supervision of Ranger Pulaski on August 21, 1910.
Here is a video describing the dedication of Pulaski’s monument, and the fires of 1910.