Butte fire shelter deployment

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In 1985 118 firefighters were burned over while fighting the Butte Fire on the Salmon National Forest in Idaho — 45 of them took refuge in a safety zone in a clear cut, but 73 had to spend an hour and a half in fire shelters in deployment sites that had been created by dozers on a ridge top. The fire made a 2-mile run at them in about 15 minutes. The heat was so intense that handles on shovels next to the firefighters were completely consumed by fire. None of the firefighters suffered any burns, but five were treated in a hospital for heat exhaustion and released the next day .

This video has been around on VHS tape since shortly after the burnover, but the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center uploaded this digital version to YouTube in April.

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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 “Butte fire shelter deployment”

  1. I was one of the 73 that deployed on this fire. I was with the Jemez Eagles at that time. I’m still fighting fires and this is my 30th season. I just got back from Etna California was there in August on July complex. I still love to get out and fight wildland fires. Thank you all fire fighters be safe….


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