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Incident Name:  Camas Creek Fire, Chelan National Forest, Washington
Date: August 13, 1929
Personnel: 3 lives lost
Age: 
Agency/Organization:  US Forest Service
Position: 

Summary: 

Douglas C. Ingram, USFS North Pacific District (Region 6) Grazing Inspector
Ernanie St Luise of the Chelan National Forest
J. F. Marten of the Chelan National Forest

Douglas Ingram and Ernanie St Luise died on the Camas Creek Fire on August 13, 1929. Ingram was acting as fire camp organizer on the Chelan National Forest. As fire behavior increased, he called the crew off the line. The fire later "blew up" in that section so he undoubtedly saved the crew. After sending the men back to camp, Ingram and St Luise set off to scout the fire, were cut off, entrapped and died.

J.F. Martin died of a heart failure while fighting fire in Black Canyon on the Camas Creek fire, Chelan National Forest. (from the Methos Valley Memorial Dedication brochure)

Print image of the memorial sculpture from the Methow Valley Memorial Brochure, 2007

Art from the Methow Valley Memorial Brochure, 2007 Art from the Methow Valley Memorial Brochure, 2007

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Douglas Ingram & Ernanie St Luise Douglas Ingram & Ernanie St Luise
    Douglas Ingram Douglas Ingram
  • From the Methow Valley Wildland Firefighter Memorial Dedication Brochure:

    Fires In 1929 the Methow Valley was in an extended period of drought. The lodgepole pine was stressed and dying from bug infestations, much as they are today. These conditions fueled the Camas Creek Fire which started on the shores of Lake Chelan and spread to the ridge top which separates Methow Valley from Lake Chelan. The Camas Creek Fire then spread downslope into the Gold Creek and Mcfarland Creek drainages. Northwest winds drove the fire across the slopes, trapping two firefighters, Ernanie St Luise and Douglas Ingram.

    Ernanie was a University of Washington student and track star from the Chelan area. Douglas Ingram was a botanist from the FS Regional office in Portland. They headed for the ridgetop in an attempt to outrun the fire. They were overcome by the fire within about 100 feet of the ridgetop. The ridge where they died was named after Douglas Ingram and a creek in the area bears Ernanie St Luise's name.

  • The Lewiston Morning Tribune, 9/15/1929 describes 2 Washington fires: Coleville NF, Dollar Fire (98,000 acres) and Chelan NF, Remmel Lake Fire (88,866 acres). These were both very large fires for the time.
  • US Forest Service Fallen List:: Douglas C. Ingram | Ernani St. Luiso

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Wildlandfire.com Links:

  • Theysaid: 9/14/06, raising money for the memorial

 

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Media Articles and Reports

  • from gorp.com: page 13. Camas Creek Fire

    Camas Creek was the site of another of the "great" fires of the Chelan area. The fire began as a lightning strike in early August 1929 and escaped initial attack on the second day. The fire ran all the way over the Chelan Crest to the Methow River, killed two fire fighters, destroyed miles of irrigation flume and burned for 62 days. The Stormy Mountain Lookout was able to watch the entire progress of the fire and reported a six-mile flame front during the incident. This fire resulted in a region-wide call for fire roads into National Forest lands to aid fire fighting efforts. Read more at the link above...

Heavy loss of life in 1929 fires Heavy loss of life in 1929 fires
2 Heavy loss of life in 1929 fires 2 Heavy loss of life in 1929 fires
3 list of fallen, 1929 3 list of fallen, 1929

 

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

  • Metho Valley Wildland Firefighter Memorial, dedicated Nov 27, 2007: Brochure, front page (690 K pdf)
  • Online Article formerly at omakchronicle.coms: Firefighting Memorial Dedication is Nov. 27 in Winthrop (no longer online)
  • Memorial located in Mac Lloyd Park in Winthrop, WA.

    Memorial Location: From Hwy 20 at milepost 191.5, in the town of Winthrop, turn left (west) into the municipal parking lot at the big Red Barn (If anyone knows the lat/lon, please let us know.)

Rt 20 at Winthrop, WA

 

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Contributors to this article: Tom Leuschen, Mellie, Wildland Firefighter Foundation

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