Firefighting hero Pulaski honored with renovated trail
WALLACE, Idaho (AP) - The mine shaft that made Ed Pulaski a
firefighting legend 95 years ago will soon be reached by a
renovated hiking trail, a project led by a high school guidance
counselor and financed with money from Congress and private donors.
At a dedication ceremony Saturday - the anniversary of the 1910
"Big Blowup" fire - a white-gloved Forest Service honor guard
carried chrome-plated versions of the combination ax and hoe tool
named for Pulaski.
"History was made here," said Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, who
helped secure $300,000 from Congress to pay for the trail. Another
$147,000 in private money was raised for the project.
The Big Blowup killed at least 85 people, destroyed entire towns
and burned 3 million acres along the Montana-Idaho border. It
prompted the U.S. Forest Service to begin aggressively fighting
wildfires for the rest of the 20th century.
Pulaski, an early Forest Service ranger, is celebrated for
leading his crew to the abandoned mine shaft, saving 39 of the 45
firefighters as raging flames swept over the creek valley. The tool
he invented eventually become standard equipment for wildland
firefighters across the country.
The trail to the mine starts about a half-mile south of Wallace.
Construction won't be completed until early October, but project
leaders wanted to dedicate the site on the anniversary of the fire.
A narrow, steep path once led to the mine shaft, but the path
crossed private land and dangerous slopes. The Forest Service
stopped maintaining it about five years ago.
The new trail is safer, flatter and follows the creek valley,
said Jack Dorrell, who helped design the new route for the Forest
Service. "It's going to be a nice trail, a pretty walking trail."
The mine shaft where Pulaski and his men took refuge is now
blocked with steel bars, but the trail runs past trees charred in
The dedication ceremony featured a massive cedar stump burned in
that 1910 inferno. A green ribbon circling the stump was cut with
Pulaski's own pulaski tool.
Jim See, the Mullan High School guidance counselor who
spearheaded the three-year effort to build a new trail to the site,
said the project honors the firefighters who died nearly a century
"We honor them with this trail," he said. "We honor all
wildland firefighters past, present and future with this trail."
The trail is central to the history of the Forest Service, which
was founded in 1905 - just five year before the fires, said Mark
Rey, U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary.
"The 1910 fires gave the new agency a defining purpose: To
demonstrate that destructive wildfire could be controlled and
prevented," he said.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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Thread: Honoring Ed Pulaski
08-23-2005, 02:46 AM #1
Honoring Ed PulaskiProudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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On the web at www.section2wildfire.com
09-01-2005, 10:45 PM #2
- Join Date
- Jun 2002
- Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
A Bit of History...............
You learn something every day here. Thanks NJ, it was a good read. I can't help but wonder if Ed would approve of what I've done with a Pulaski. I took one, and adjusted the "Hoe" edge so it was flat, then sharpened it like the "axe" side. I put it on our Ladder Truck, (which does not run many forest Fires,) and use it for opening roofs, I can strip shingles, find the edge on a board or sheet of plywood, the pry the wood loose to make a 4 X 8 ft hole in about 5 minutes.Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006
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