594-6497 Remembering the Mann Gulch Fire 75 years later
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: April 11, 2024

HELENA, Mont. – April 10, 2024 – This summer, the USDA Forest Service, Montana
Discovery Foundation, National Smokejumpers Association, and other partners will
recognize and honor the men who perished in the Mann Gulch Fire of 1949.
“The men who lost their lives in the Mann Gulch fire seventy-five years ago live on today in
many ways – from much-improved safety for firefighters to a deeper understanding of
wildfire and how our responses impact wildfire,” said Forest Supervisor Emily Platt. The
memorial and events planned this summer will honor the men who lost their lives in the
tragedy and reflect on our ever-evolving relationship with fire.
The Mann Gulch fire was a wildfire near Helena, Montana sparked by dry lighting. On
August 5, 1949 the fire overtook 15 smokejumpers and a fire guard. Thirteen young men lost
their lives, all of whom had served as part of an elite group of firefighters known as
smokejumpers. Another life was lost at Mann Gulch when a U.S. Forest Service employee
died while investigating the fire.
The Mann Gulch fire gave way to investments in fire research and was the main driver for
funding the construction of the Northern Forest Fire Laboratory, now known as the
Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, that opened in Missoula in 1960. The Missoula Fire
Science Laboratory has deepened our understanding of the importance of reducing
hazardous fuels and appylying prescribed fire to create more options for managers when
wildfires occur and to reduce wildfire severity.
Visit: http://www.montanadiscoveryfoundation.org/manngulch75/ to learn more about
events taking place to honor the men. Visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-
land/wildfire-crisis to learn

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