Guide to the National Smokejumper Association Records

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: National Smokejumper Association
Title: National Smokejumper Association records
Dates: 1919-2015 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 13.4 linear feet
Collection Number: Mss 620
Summary: The collection contains reports, correspondence, interviews, personal papers, photographs, films, and publications related to the development and history of aerial fire management. The collection primarily includes papers and publications created by the National Smokejumper Association as well as the papers of individual smokejumpers and a collection of papers of the U.S. Forest Service documenting the early development of aerial fire management.
Repository: University of Montana--Missoula
Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library
K. Ross Toole Archives

The University of Montana--Missoula
Missoula, MT 59812

Languages: Material is in English 

Historical Note

The National Smokejumper Association (NSA) is an organization which preserves and shares the history of aerial fire management and provides a forum for those associated with wildland firefighting. The NSA maintains a roster of current and former smokejumpers and actively collects the history of individuals and organizations associated with the history of smoke jumping and aerial fire management.

Content Description

The collection contains reports, correspondence, rosters, personal papers, oral histories, photographs, and films documenting the history of aerial fire management. The majority of the material in the collection was created by the association itself, by former smokejumpers or by the U.S. Forest Service. The collection includes materials regarding the development of parachute jumping during the F Studies – Aerial Control Parachute Jumping experiments of the late 1930s and early 1940s by the U.S. Forest Service. The collection also contains fire reports from various years including the investigation report regarding Mann Gulch, Montana (1949) as well as newsletters and magazines published by the National Smokejumper Association and contains numerous other magazine articles related to the development and history of smoke jumping and aerial fire management. The collection contains personal papers of individual smokejumpers including those of Bob Brennan, a smokejumper trained at Nine Mile Base (Montana) in 1941. This collection documents the importance of smoke jumping and provides personal accounts as well as early government information about exploration and development of wild land firefighting.

Series I, the National Smokejumper Association Records, primarily contains copies of the organization’s newsletter, Static LineStatic Line, and their magazine, Smokejumper Quarterly. It also includes a report of the Long Range Plan of the organization written in 2002 as well as reunion lists and copies of email correspondence about the organization.

Series II, History of Smoke jumping, comprises the bulk of the collection and is arranged chronologically within five subseries with the exception of Subseries 2: Personal Narratives, which is arranged alphabetically by individual, subject or organization. Subseries 1: Reports, Handbooks, and Manuals, is a chronological sequence of materials documenting a range of topics related to aerial fire management. Materials include fire reports, specifically a copy of the investigation of the Mann Gulch fire (1949) and the fire investigation report of the South Canyon Fire on Storm King Mountain (1994). Subseries 1 also includes safety manuals, the annual reports of Siskiyou Smokejumper base (1971 – 1980), a draft copy of a smokejumper study of Region 6 (1984), and trail maintenance reports. Subseries 2: Personal Narratives, is arranged alphabetically by last name or by organization and contains publications of rosters arranged chronologically, first-hand accounts, interviews and oral histories of the experiences of individual smoke jumpers as well as published narratives of individuals of specific regional smoke jumping stations including Cave Junction, Oregon (1944 – 50) and Region 4 (1940s) as well as narratives and copies of photographs of Civilian Public Service Fliers (1940s). Materials also include newspaper clippings, articles, obituaries, and photographs submitted by smokejumpers including a scrapbook of photographs of the Storm King Fire line (2000). Subseries 3: U.S. Forest Service Papers, documents the F Studies Aerial Fire Management Control Project (1940s) including papers related to the Civilian Public Service program and the technical developments of parachute jumping. Materials include memos, invoices, reports, correspondence and publications. Subseries 4: General Histories, contains overviews and timelines of major benchmarks in the history of smoke jumping. Items include booklets, chronologies, a conference paper and general histories of several regional smoke jumping stations including the North Cascades Smokejumper Base, the California Smokejumpers and the Siskiyou smokejumper base. Subseries 5: Articles/Clippings, includes published magazine and newspaper articles related to a broad range of topics about aerial fire management including several issues of National GeographicNational Geographic ranging from 1950s – 1980s. Subseries 6: Memorabilia, primarily contains copies of books and movie posters (1930s – 1950s) related to fire fighting including books for children.

Series III contains the Papers of Bob Brennan, a smokejumper trained at Nine Mile Base in Montana. Materials include diaries, jump logs, and photographs of his experiences in 1941 stationed at Moose Creek Airport/Guard station as well as an audio tape recording of an oral history interview from later in life.

Series IV is arranged chronologically by the content of the material and contains film reels, video cassettes and photographs on CD. Materials include a 12 tape series entitled Wilderness Survival as well as a film reel of the Smithsonian project about Smokejumpers from the 1940s and a copy of the Wilderness Warrior video. The series also includes computer cassettes and photos on CD of the North Cascades Smokejumper Base as well as a film reel of William Moody’s jump during an exchange with Russia (1976).

Series V was added in 2011 through a donation by Stevan M. Smith of over 200 hours of video, and corresponding video logs, from the research, editing and final production of the NSA documentary "Smokejumpers: Firefighters from the Sky," which was written and produced by Smith.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of the K. Ross Toole Archives, the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, and The University of Montana--Missoula.

Restrictions on Use :  

Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. and any other applicable statutes. Copyright of some materials transferred to The University of Montana -- Missoula.

Preferred Citation :  

[Name of document or photograph number], National Smokejumper Association Records, K. Ross Toole Archives, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana--Missoula.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

This collection has been divided into five series:

Series I: National Smokejumper Association Records, 1978, 1993-2015, 0.75 linear feet

Subseries 1: Reports/Memos, 1993, 2002, 0.05 linear feet

Subseries 2: Correspondence, 1999-2003, 0.05 linear feet

Subseries 3: Reunions, 1978, 2004-2010, 0.05 linear feet

Subseries 4: Publications, 1997-2015, 0.5 linear feet

Series II: History of Smoke Jumping, 1910-2009, 1.75 linear feet

Subseries 1: Reports/Handbooks/Manuals, 1940-1994, 0.4 linear feet

Subseries 2: Personal Narratives, 1910-2009, 0.5 linear feet

Subseries 3: U.S. Forest Service, 1939-1999, 0.3 linear feet

Subseries 4: General Histories, 1940-1998, 0.15 linear feet

Subseries 5: Articles/Clippings, 1919-2005, 0.3 linear feet

Subseries 6: Memorabilia, 1930-1950, 0.1 linear feet

Series III: Personal Papers of Smokejumpers, 1938–1942, [1995], 0.2 linear feet

Subseries 1: Papers of Bob Brennan, 1938–1942, [1995], 0.2 linear feet

Series IV: Miscellaneous Audiovisual, 1939–1940, 1976, 2004, 0.8 linear feet

Series V: Smokejumpers: Firefighters from the Sky Documentary, 1983-2003 and undated, 10.2 linear feet

Subseries 1: Video Log Books, undated, 1 linear feet

Subseries 2: Field tapes and File tapes, Betacam SP S and L, undated, 5 linear feet

Subseries 3: Other Source Video, Mini-DV, Betacam SP S, Betacam SP L, and VHS, 1988-2003, 3 linear feet

Subseries 4: Video Not Used, 2000, 4 items

Subseries 5: VHS Dubs with Window Code and Rough Edit Tapes, 2000 and undated, 1.0 linear feet

Subseries 6: Miscellaneous Papers, 1983-2003 and undated, 0.2 linear feet

Custodial History :  

Prior to the records coming to the Archives, the collection had been in the possession of the National Smokejumper Association. Video and video logs in Series V, Smokejumpers: Firefighters from the Sky were held by Stevan Smith until their delivery to the Archives in June 2011.

Acquisition Information :  

Gift of National Smokejumper Association Board in 2003.

Future Additions :  

Additions to the collection are ongoing and will be added by the organization and individual donors.

Related Materials :  

Two oral history collections held at Archives and Special Collections contain about 150 oral history interviews with smokejumpers: OH 133, Smokejumper Oral History Project, and OH 163, Civilian Public Service Smokejumpers Oral History Project .

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I:  National Smokejumper Association Records, 1978, 1993-2015
0.75 linear feet
Subseries 1: Reports and Memos, 1993; , 2002
0.05 linear feet
1/1 Memos and Clippings, 1993
1/2 Strategic Plan, 2002
Subseries 2: Correspondence, 1999-2003
0.05 linear feet
1/3 Smokejumper History Project, 1999-2003
Subseries 3: Reunions, 1978-2010
0.05 linear feet
1/4 Reunions, 1978-2010
Subseries 4: Publications, 1997-2015
0.5 linear feet
2/1 NSA Trail Maintenance Reports, 2001-2005
2/2 Smokejumper Quarterly, 1999-2000
2/3 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2001
2/4 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2002
2/5 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2003
2/6 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2004
2/7 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2005
2/8 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2006
2/9 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2007
2/10 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2008
2/11 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2009
2/12 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2010
2/13 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2011
2/14 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2012
2/15 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2013
3/1 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2014
3/2 Smokejumper Quarterly, 2015
3/3 Static LineNewsletter, 1997-1998

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Series II:  History of Smokejumping, 1910-2009
1.75 linear feet
Subseries 1: Reports/Handbooks/Manuals, 1940-2004
0.4 linear feet
3/4 Aerial Fire Control Project Region One, 1940
3/5 District #9 – Forest Patrol, 1941
3/6 Smokejumper Project – Region Six, 1943
3/7 Civil Air Regulations, 1945
3/8 Report of the Board of Review, Mann Gulch Fire, 1949
3/9 Higgins Ridge Fire, Nez Perce National Forest, 1961
3/10 Training Manual Firefighting, 1962
3/11 Annual Reports - Siskiyou Smokejumper Base, 1971-1980
3/12 U.S. – U.S.S.R. Exchange, Technical Report Smoke Jumping/Repel, 1976
4/1 LOBE Parachute/EAGLE Parachute, Papers by David Gold, SAFE Symposium, 1981-1982
4/2 Smokejumper Study, Region Six, 1984
4/3 Mann Gulch Fire That Couldn’t Be Won, 1993
4/4 Report of South Canyon Fire Investigation, 1994
4/5 Fire Behavior Associated with 1994 South Canyon Fire – Storm King Mountain, Colorado, 1998
Subseries 2: Personal Narratives, 1910-2009
0.05 linear feet
4/6 Roster of Forest Service Jumpers, 1940
4/7 Roster of Retired Smokejumpers, 1945-1981
4/8 Who’s Who in Region 4 Smokejumping, 1943-1997
4/9 Static Lines and Canopies, Stories from Smokejumpers, Civilian Public Service Camp, 1943-1945
4/10 Civilian Public Service Smokejumpers, Volume I, 1943-1946
4/11 Civilian Public Service Smokejumpers, Volume II, 1943-1946
4/12 Civilian Public Service Smokejumpers, Volume III, 1943-1946
4/13 Personal Narratives, 1940-1979
4/14 Personal Narratives, Unidentified Account, undated
4/15 H.P. Barringer, Forest Ranger, 1910
4/16 Interview with Jim "Smokey" Alexander, 193-
4/17 Mike Burke, Funeral Service Program and Photos, undated
4/18 Ira Burton, Obituary, 2003
4/19 Gunter Dambro, Scrapbook of Photographs, Storm King Fire Line, 2000
4/20 Jerry Dixon, DVD – Ten Seconds Over Birch Hill, 1976-2009
4/21 Carroll Gambrell, Letter, 1994
4/22 Smokejumper Oral History Project, Max Glaves, Interview, 1984
4/23 Search for K. Reed Harrison, his wife Judy and daughter Julie, 1993
4/24 Brian C. Hicks, MSO, 1995
4/25 Smokejumper Oral History Project, Bruce Jackson, Interview, 1984
4/26 Smokejumper Oral History Project, Sherill King, Interview, 1985
4/27 John Lewis, Photographs, undated
4/28 David Liston, Obituary, 199-
4/29 Lester Lycklama, Smokejumper, 1946
4/30 Jack F. Matthews, Biographical Information and Clippings, undated
4/31 H. Roger McPike, Inventory of Slides Taken 1953 – 1956 Region IV, undated
4/32 Smokejumper Oral History Project, Charles Nyquist, Interview, 1984
4/33 Smokejumper Oral History Project, Diane Pryce, Interview, 1984
4/34 Bob Reid, Firsthand Account, MSO 57, undated
4/35 Carroll Rieck, Reflections, undated
4/36 Walter B. Rumsey, Compiled by Peggy L. Bale, Contributions from Family and Friends, 1997
4/37 Hank Shank, MSO 47, undated
4/38 George K. Sisler, Congressional Medal of Honor, undated
4/39 Kenneth Roy Smith, Smokejumper 1955, Obituary, undated
4/40 Willi Unseold, Biography and Photos, undated
4/41 Ed Summerfield, photos of him in smokejumper's gear, 1950
5/1 Astronauts, Information Summary, NASA, 1997
5/2 Pilots, 1940s, 1970-1989
5/3 Public Civil Service, Photographs, 1940-1949
5/4 Region Four, 1940-1949
5/5 Unit at Cave Junction, Photographs and Narrative, 1949-1950
Subseries 3: United States Forest Service, 1939-1999
0.3 linear feet
5/6 U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management Smokejumpers, undated
5/7 Forest Fire Fundamentals Booklet, undated
5/8 Inventory of Photographs, 1939
5/9 Report on Parachute Jumping Experiment, Aerial Fire Control, 1939
5/10 Aerial Delivery of Supplies, 1939
5/11 History of Smokejumping, 1939, 1939 – 1949
5/12 F Studies Aerial Control, Memos and Correspondence , Jan 1940 – May 1940
5/13 F Studies Aerial Control, Memos and Correspondence, June 1940 – Dec 1940
5/14 F Studies Aerial Control, Memos and Reports, 1942 – 1949
5/15 Fire Control Handbook, Region 6, Part III Suppression, 1949
5/16 Air Operations Handbook, 1952
5/17 Specifications for Container for Smokejumper Backpack for Parachute Canopies, 1957
5/18 History of Smoke jumping, Region I, 1959
5/19 Narrative of the Smokejumpers, 1965
5/20 Press Release, Smokejumper Bases to be Studied, 1984
5/21 C-7 Field Evaluation , Apr – Oct 1994
5/22 FS-14 Parachute Report , Apr 6,1995
5/23 Escape Routes: An Anecdotal Evaluation, 1995
5/24 Aerial Delivered Fire Fighter Study Oct 1999
Subseries 4: General Histories, 1940-1998
0.15 linear feet
6/1 Paper by Bruce VanVoorhis, undated
6/2 Outline History of Siskiyou Smokejumper Project, 1943-1979
6/3 Chronology of Aerial Fire Management, Ch.6 of Malcolm Edward Hardy’s Masters Thesis, 1946
6/4 History of Smoke Jumping by the Aviation Aerial Management Booklet, 1980
6/5 History of Smoke jumping, 1980s
6/6 The History of California Smokejumpers, 1997
6/7 History of the North Cascades Smokejumper Base by William Moody, 1998
Subseries 5: Articles/Clippings, 1919–2005
0.3 linear feet
6/8 Articles/Clippings, 1919 – 1989
6/9 Articles/Clippings, 1940s
6/10 Articles/Clippings, 1950s
6/11 Articles/Clippings, 1960s
6/12 Articles/Clippings, 1970s
6/13 Articles/Clippings, 1980s
6/14 Articles/Clippings, 1990s
6/15 Articles/Clippings, 2000s
6/16 Articles/Clippings, n.d.
6/17 National Geographic, June 1950
6/18 National Geographic, June 1952
6/19 National Geographic, Sept 1956
6/20 Newspaper Clippings, 1961
7/1 National Geographic, July 1968
7/2 National Geographic, Sept 1982
7/3 National Geographic, Feb 1989
10/1 Life Magazine Article on Mann Gulch, 1949
10/2 Seattle Times, Sunday Pictorial, Parachuting to Work, A Smokejumper in Action, Aug 14, 1966
Subseries 6: Memorabilia, 1930–1950
0.1 linear feet
7/4 Posters and Articles related to Smoke jumping and Firefighting, 1930s-1940s
7/5 Stories on Smoke jumping and Firefighting for Children, 1940s-1950s

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Series III:  Personal Papers of Smokejumpers, 1938-1942, [1995]
Subseries 1: Papers of Bob Brennan, 1938-1942, [1995]
0.2 linear feet
7/6 Jump Log, 1941
7/7 Diaries, 1938 – 1942
7/8 Photos, Slides, and Inventory, Nine Mile Base, MT, 1940s
7/9 Oral History Cassette Tape, undated
7/10 NSA Bumper Sticker and Membership Card, undated
7/11 Photograph Album, 1940s

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Series IV:  Miscellaneous Audiovisual, 1939–1940, 1976, 1998, 2004
0.8 linear feet
8/1 Wilderness Survival Videotapes, 1998
9/1 Photos on CD, North Cascades Smokejumper Base Honored at Seattle Mariner Game, Sept. 2004
9/2 Photos on CD, North Cascades Smokejumper Base and National Forest Service Archives, undated
9/3 Wilderness Warriors Smokejumpers, ESPN (21 min version), 1 Broadcast Videocassette, 1989
9/4 Forest Service Experimental Smokejumper Project, Intercity Airport, Winthrop, WA, Film by Ferd Haase, 1939 – 1940 Smokejumpers, 1 reel of film, and 1master DVD copy and 1 DVD use copy of the film created by Photo Magic Video Productions in 2006
9/5 Computers Disks, unidentified, undated
10/1 William Moody, U.S. – U.S.S.R. Exchange Jump, 1 reel of film, 1976, and 1 master DVD copy and 1 DVD use copy of the film created by Photo Magic Video Productions in 2006

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Series V:  Smokejumpers: Firefighters from the Sky, 1983-2003 and undated
10.2 linear feet.

This series but consists of video components and detailed video logs from the documentary Smokejumpers: Firefighters from the Sky (also called The History of Smokejumping: Firefighters from the Sky) produced by Stevan Smith for the National Smokejumper Association. Raw footage includes interviews with smokejumpers and video logs include complete transcripts of these interviews.

Subseries 1 : Video Log books, undated
1 linear feet
11 Video log book, part one, undated
11 Video log book, part two, undated
11 Video log book, part three, undated
11 Final edit log book including credit notes, undated
Subseries 2 : Field tapes and File tapes, Betacam SP S and L, undated
5 linear feet
12 Field tapes 1-39, no tape #16, Betacam SP S, undated
13 Field tapes 40-79, Betacam SP S, undated
14 Field tapes 80-119, Betacam SP S, undated
15 Field tapes 120-159, Betacam SP S, undated
16 Field tapes 160-163, Betacam SP S, undated
16 File tapes 1-36, Betacam SP S, undated
17 File tapes 27-31 and 33, Betacam SP L, undated
Subseries 3: Other Source Video, Mini-DV, Betacam SP S, Betacam SP L, and VHS , 1988-2003 and undated
3 linear feet
17 Redmond Fire, Mini-DV, undated
17 Missoula Rookie #1 and #2, Mini-DVs, undated
17 3 Alaska Fires, Mini-DVs, undated
17 Jack the Ripper Fire, Mini-DV, undated
17 HIPKE Footage, tape 1 of 2 (no 2nd tape), Mini-DV, 2000-2002
17 HIPKE Summer, Tapes 1,2, and 3, Mini-DVs, 1998
17 Fire, Mini-DV, undated
17 Smokejumping, Mini-DV, undated
17 Pin Fire, 3 man, Mini-DV, undated
17 Smokejumper-MSO, Mini-DV, undated
17 BLM - Exits, Mini-DV, undated
17 Mann Gulch 50th, Mini-DV, undated
17 13 Betacam compilation copy reels of Mini-DVs, Betacam SP S and L, undated
18 3 Betacam reels "Smokejumper Pilot" shot by Missoula Technology Development Center, USDA Forest Service, Betacam SP S, undated
18 4 Betacam reels "Smokejumper Spotter" shot by Missoula Technology Development Center, USDA Forest Service, Betacam SP S, undated
18 1939 Experimental Jumps, 3/4" cassette, undated
18 Bobby Montoya - Idaho City and Gila, Les Peppard, Betacam SP L, undated
18 Bill Poppy's, Betacam SP L, undated
18 Eric Hipke - South Canyon, Betacam SP L, undated
18 Jack the Ripper Fire, Tony Petrelli jump footage, Betacam SP L, undated
18 Sawmill Saddle Fire, Betacam SP L, undated
18 Mann Gulch 50th, Betacam SP L, undated
18 Allen Bell Footage, Part 1, Betacam SP L, undated
18 Allen Bell Footage, Part 2, Betacam SP S, undated
18 Hipke 99, Betacam SP S, undated
18 Interview with Secretary of Interior, Bruce Babbit, Betacam SP S, undated
18 NCSB Memorial, Betacam SP S, 2003
18 SJ 8 Mile Ridge Crash, Betacam SP S, 2003
18 Ghalor - Early Smokejumpers, Betacam SP S, undated
18 Storm Warning, Sonny Archuleta Concludes, Tony Petrilli, Betacam SP S, undated
18 A, Pick-up Shots, Betacam SP S, undated
18 B, MSO Water Bomb Stills, Betacam SP S, undated
18 C, Son of Pickups, Betacam SP S, undated
18 D, Daughter of Pickups, Betacam SP S, undated
19 U.S. Invasions- Japanese Incendiary Balloons, VHS, undated
19 Allen Bell, BLM-Hollywood, VHS, undated
19 Smokejumper training, Missoula, transfer from 8mm, VHS, 1952
19 Smokejumpers, VHS, undated
19 Caribou, VHS, undated
19 Early Jumps with Eagle Parachute - rip cord, VHS, undated
19 Boise Jump Season Highlights, VHS, 1999
19 Hipke Fire Video, VHS, 1998
19 International Crown Fire Modeling Experiments, Northwest Territories, VHS, 1997
19 World Fires Victoria, Where the Fire Meets the People, VHS, undated
19 3 tapes of conscientious objectors discussing their time as smokejumpers during WWII, labeled MCAT 122380, 122411, and 122412 , SVHS, undated
19 Telephone Creek: 1950 Smokejumper Documentary, VHS, undated
19 Storm King Mountain Technologies: Developments in Fire Shelters, VHS, undated
19 Season of Fire, Idaho Public Television, VHS, undated
19 Fire Line, Idaho Public Television, VHS, undated
19 Fire Wars, Nova, PBS, VHS, undated
19 1988 Yellowstone Fires, VHS, 1988
Subseries 4 : Video Not Used, 2000
4 items
19 Up in Flames, Forest History Society documentary, Betacam SP S and VHS dub, undated
19 Escape: Fire in Mann Gulch, VHS, 2000
19 The Rockies, VHS, 2000
Subseries 5 : VHS Dubs with Window Code and Rough Edit Tapes, 2000 and undated
1 linear foot
20 27 VHS dubs with window code for editing, undated
20 1 review/progress tape labeled #1 NSA Smokejumper footage, VHS, 2000
20 2 review/progress rough edit tapes labeled #1 NSA Jump/Fire footage, VHS, 2000
20 2 review/progress rough edit tapes labeled "Smokejumpers: Firefighters from the Sky," Part 1 and 2, VHS, 2000
Subseries 6 : Miscellaneous Papers, 1983-2003 and undated
0.2 linear feet
21/1 Contracts and correspondence, 1999-2003
21/2 Research, undated
21/3 A Pictorial History of Smokejumping by Stan Cohen, 1983
21/4 Newsclippings, 2001 and undated
21/5 Videocassette case artwork, undated

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This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Corporate Names :
  • United States. Forest Service
  • Subject Terms :
  • Aeronautics in forest fire control--United States--History
  • Mann Gulch Fire, Mont., 1949
  • Parachuting--United States--History
  • Smokejumpers--United States
  • Smokejumping--United States--History

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