Incident Name: Lamb Fire, Kaniksu National Forest, Washington
Personnel: 2 lives lost
Agency/Organization: US Forest Service
John Gleason, about 40 years
Ole Jackson, about 35 years
On July 16, 1925, John Gleason and Ole Jackson and their crew were fighting the Lamb Fire on the Kaniksu National Forest (now the Colville NF) in Washington when they got separated from their crew, taking a different way. They were overrun by fire, and perished.
Lamb Creek, east of Priest River, ID on the Kaniksu National Forest (now the Colville NF) in Washington
Lamb Creek Road runs west from Priest River, Idaho into Washington toward Mt Gleason, turns into Forest Road NF-310 which follows Lamb Creek until it loops back to the Gleason Mt Road, which is east of NF-310. Marker placed in google earth spot "Lamb Creek, Pend Oreille, Washington". The Ranger's narrative below suggests the two men died on a steep south slope to the south of Mt Gleason. Lamb Creek is at the base of a steep south slope.
This first paragraph is about Paul Blickensdorfer (Always Remember Paul Blickensdorfer). The second part is about John Gleason and Ole Jackson.
EARLY-DAY RANGER IN THE PRIEST LAKE COUNTRY
By Henry A. Peterson
During 1925 while I was on Cuban Hill, the upper part of the Upper Westbranch drainage was burned over by a series of fires set by a dry lightning storm. On the day prior to this storm, District Ranger Murray and Assistant Forest Supervisor Francis Carroll were locating trail in the vicinity of South Baldy lookout and decided to spend the night at the lookout. A forestry student by the name of Blickensderfer was the lookout and Bill Blake, a native in the Bear Paw country, was the smokechaser. Since Murray and Carroll had hiked all day, Blickensderfer and Blake insisted that they sleep on the regular bunks. Blickensderfer and Blake slept on the floor with Blickensderfer next to and in front of the stove. Lookout buildings had no lightning protection those days. During the night a bolt of lightning came down the stovepipe, jumped to the floor under where Blickensderfer was sleeping, killing him instantly. Murray and Carroll gave artificial respiration instantly and worked over him until it was evident that nothing could revive him. Blake was not hurt and immediately grabbed his pack and controlled three fires before returning to the lookout. A bronze plaque was later cemented to a rock near the lookout building and the present Blickensderfer Creek was named in his honor. This storm was also the cause of the fires, which burned over the upper part of the Upper Westbranch drainage. Also caused the death of two other men.
One afternoon on a steep south slope, south of the present Gleason Mountain, the fire picked up in fury. The overhead, fearing a crown fire, decided to remove the crew to safety and ordered all the men to follow.
Two men, Jackson and Gleason, decided there was a safer way out and refused to follow. Their bodies were later found where they had been trapped by the crown fire while trying to gain the ridge top.
The present Gleason Mountain and Jackson Mountain were named in honor of these men. As I recall, both were transient firefighters. I believe both were laid to rest in the Priest River Cemetery.
John Gleason & Ole Jackson named as fallen:
- Washington Death Certificates: John Gleason | Ole Jackson
- The present Gleason Mountain and Jackson Mountain were named in honor of these men.
Gleason Mountain, Pend Oreille, WA
Jackson Mountain, Pend Oreille, WA
Contributors to this article: Brett Rogers
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