August 5th marked the sixty-third anniversary of the Mann Gulch fire. PDF heavy, significant use of title text. Mobile users, and folks who just want the links, check the comments. [more inside]
Talk about tough: These guys throw themselves out of 50-year-old aircraft into burning Siberian forests. Unfortunately, the entire article isn't available on line, but the pictures, and the brief text, and the writer's notes are worthwhile anyway. Or you can go listen to the stories told at Idaho's Smokejumper Oral History Project. Or get the history from the National Smokejumper Association. And really, you can't beat Norman Maclean's Young Men and Fire, which metafilter dug up a while back, but is well worth revisiting.
Young Men and Fire is a masterpiece of nonfiction. The autor is Norman McLean, who wrote A River Runs Through It, made famous by the Robert Redford movie. It is the story of the Mann Gulch Fire . Fifteen Smokejumpers parachuted into a remote Montana gulch to fight a fire sparked by lightning - within 90 minutes, 10 were dead, overtaken by a searing wall of flame 200 feet high. Take a virtual tour of Mann Gulch. Read and order the official report. Lean about the Smokejumpers. Imagine yourself in a Montana fire.