HELENA, Mont. – This summer marks the 75th anniversary of the Mann Gulch Fire near Helena. In coordination with the Last Chance Backcountry Horsemen, the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest replaced four of the monuments honoring the thirteen firefighters who perished in the 1949 fire. 

Pack mules carried the new monuments to the Mann Gulch site in the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness. A team of Forest Service staff alongside Montana Discovery Foundation installed the new monuments and will return to clean and paint the new crosses.  

 “We could not do this work without all of the volunteers and partners supporting it,” said Helena Ranger District Trails and Wilderness Coordinator Lucas Parriman. “We are also grateful to Matt Whetzel from Whetzel Concrete Construction Company for producing the new monuments in kind for us and working with our heritage employees to ensure the historical match to existing monuments. Students taking a metal class at East Helena High School also worked on a new name plate for Leonard Piper.”

 The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest is working with the National Smokejumper Association, Montana Discovery Foundation, Montana DNRC, Wild Montana, Montana Historical Society, Forest Fire Lookout Association, IFlyBigSky, and other partners to prepare upcoming memorial tribute events in downtown Helena August 3-5, 2024. Details for upcoming events can be found here: Mann Gulch 75 – Montana Discovery Foundation 

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