Young Men and Fire
is a non-fiction book written by Norman Maclean
. It is an account of Norman Maclean's research of the Mann Gulch fire
and the 13 men who died there. The fire occurred in Mann Gulch
in the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness
on August 5.
Norman Maclean and Laird Robinson, in an attempt to forensically analyze the Mann Gulch Fire, brought together multiple sources, including the official report of the United States Forest Service
of the fire, the testimony of the four men who fought the fire and lived, and the research and report of Robert Jansson and Harry T. Gisborne (who would suffer a fatal heart attack at Mann Gulch two months later trying to get to the bottom of the tragedy). Jansson was ranger of the Helena National Forest's Canyon Ferry District, the area that included Mann Gulch, on duty the day of the fire. Maclean and Laird also took Walter Rumsey and Robert Sallee, the only two living survivors of the fire team (as survivor Wag Dodge died in 1955), back to the scene of the fire in 1978, hoping that walking the ground again would help solve some of the missing pieces. Additionally, Laird and Maclean would use the modern Fire Lab and their mathematical analysis (advances in fire methodology not available in 1949), to search for answers to the fire.
With all of these pieces, several trips to Mann Gulch, and ideas bantered back and forth between each other, Bud Moore, Ed Heilman, Rich Rothermel, Frank Albini, and other members of the... Read More