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Incident Name:  Hells Canyon Fire on the Payette National Forest, Idaho
Date: August 22, 1949
Personnel: Jim Knudsen from Gem, Kansas
Age: 
Agency/Organization: US Forest Service
Position: firefighter

Summary: More than 300 firefighters were brought in by train and bus from cities in Oregon and elsewhere to fight lightning-caused fires raging on the Payette National Forest in August of 1949. Jim Knudsen from Kansas and other firefighters on his crew were fighting the uncontrollable Hells Canyon Fire that had burned more than 7,000 acres on the South Fork of the Salmon River. Wind-swept flames made a run in the canyon and caught the crew. Three were hospitalized. Jim Knudsen was blinded by the smoke and tumbled on a steep slope. He rolled into the flames, suffering third degree burns. It took 20 men about 12 hours to get him out of the canyon on a stretcher. He died later that day.

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South Fork of the Salmon River, Hells Canyon Fire, Payette National Forest, Idaho

 

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Few details, except that it happened.
Jim Knudsen record in the Lessons Learned Center Database Jim Knudsen record in the Lessons Learned Center Database
  • Jim Knudsen named as fallen
Jim Knudsen named by the news media Jim Knudsen named by the news media
Jim Knudsen media Jim Knudsen media
Jim Knudsen media Jim Knudsen media

 

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Media Articles and Reports

 

 

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

 

 

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Contributors to this article: Mellie

 

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