MTPR

Wildfire Safety Evaluator

In 1949, 13 smokejumpers died in Mann Gulch after being overtaken by fire.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Seventy years ago today, an 18-man smokejumper crew jumped out of a plane into the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness northeast of Helena. Within hours of the jump the crew was overrun by the fire they were sent to stop, and most of the men died.

MTPR's Corin Cates-Carney looks back at the Mann Gulch tragedy, which lead the U.S. Forest Service — for the first time — to approach wildfire as a science.