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Remembering Mann Gulch

by John Walden |

Posted at
Saturday, Nov 26, 2005 - 11:23:13 am PST
Whitefish Pilot

Robert Sallee, the last surviving firefighter of the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire, addresses a crowd at the Glacier Park International Airport on Friday night.

Robert Sallee seems a forthcoming yet reluctant celebrity of sorts.

Forthcoming because he'll tell you about the day he survived the Mann Gulch Fire if you ask him to. Reluctant because as the only survivor left, he has become a symbol of the firestorm that killed 13 firefighters near the Gates of the Mountains in 1949.

He's told his story to National Geographic, to Nova, and to Norman Maclean for his book Young Men and Fire.

He's told it to fellow firefighters, to the public and to the media when he shows up at Mann Gulch anniversaries or firefighter gatherings like the one held at Glacier Park International Airport on Friday.