Mann Gulch Fire: a race that couldn't be won
Document Type: Book
Author(s): Richard C. Rothermel
Publication Year: 1993

Cataloging Information

  • catastrophic fires
  • coniferous forests
  • crown fires
  • fire case histories
  • fire equipment
  • fire management
  • firefighting personnel
  • fuel appraisal
  • health factors
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • national forests
  • rate of spread
  • spot fires
  • topography
  • US Forest Service
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: October 29, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 41032
Tall Timbers Record Number: 15870
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: A13.88:INT-299
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


The Mann Gulch fire, which overran 16 firefighters in 1949, is analyzed to show its probable movement with respect to the crew. The firefighters were smoke-jumpers who had parachuted near the fire on August 5, 1949. While they were moving to a safer location, the fire blocked their route. Three survived, the foreman who ignited an escape fire into which he tried to move his crew, and two firefighters who found a route to safety. Considerable controversy has centered around the probable behavior of the fire and the actions of the crew members and their foreman. Modern safety techniques used by 73 firefighters who escaped injury after being trapped on the Butte Fire in 1985 are described for comparison.

Online Link(s):
Rothermel, R. C. 1993. Mann Gulch Fire: a race that couldn't be won. General Technical Report INT-299. Ogden, UT, USDA Forest Service Internountain Research Station.