A JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network
Bringing People Together & Sharing Knowledge in the Northern Rockies

How big was Dodge's escape fire?

Author(s): Martin E. Alexander
Year Published: 2010

Several published accounts exist of how smokejumper foreman Wag Dodge survived the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire in northwestern Montana by setting an 'escape fire' in cured grass fuels, the most notable among them being Norman Maclean's 1992 book Young Men and Fire. Two other smokejumpers survived by reaching a rockslide. Sadly, 12 smokejumpers and a local fireguard perished in their attempt to try and outrun the rapidly spreading grass fire in steep terrain. In a recent paper (part of a project dealing with survival zones for wildland firefighters), Alexander and others (2009a) critically examined the question of how big an area was burned off before Dodge was overrun by the main advancing fire front. They also addressed the issue of how tall the flames of the advancing fire front were that initially met and ultimately swept around the area burned out by Dodge's escape fire.

Citation: Alexander, M. E. 2010. How big was Dodge's escape fire? Fire Management Today. 70(3): 24.
Topic(s): Fire Behavior, Extreme Fire Behavior, Case Studies, Human Dimensions of Fire Management, Human Factors of Firefighter Safety
Ecosystem(s): Lower montane/foothills/valley grassland
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 8289
FRAMES RCS number: 10967
Record updated: Jun 14, 2018